"As friends, relatives, co-workesr and community members we cannot sit back in silence."
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On Thursday evening, the YWCA Greenwich held their annual Domestic Abuse Services Candlelight Vigil to honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and celebrate the strength of survivors
Adrianne Singer, President and CEO of the YWCA Greenwich said unfortunately the YWCA has seen an increase in the number of vicitims. "We are busier than ever. Last year we treated almost 6,000 individuals, including 775 children, and we sheltered 123, 77 of whom were children. That is the highest number we have sheltered since we have been in operation."
Today, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in her lifetime. Domestic violence is the 2nd most investigated crime in Greenwich.
Suzanne Adams, Director of Domestic Abuse Services at the YWCA Greenwich said, "At the end of the day, it's life saving services. People come in and they learn how to cope with the domestic violence. They learn things like safety plans so for instance, if tension is starting to be an issue in the home, if they can tell that the violence is escalating, they'll have a safety plan of having a packed bag or not going into a room that may have weapons such as a kitchen or a bathroom. Having a code word with children to know to call 9-1-1. It's really important for people to come in for the life saving services, specifically the safety planning so they can safely navigate an abusive relationship and be safe."
During the candlelight ceremony, the names of 26 individuals who lost their lives in Connecticut this past year to domestic violence were read.
The YWCA also honored Angie Hay with the 2013 Purple Ribbon Award for her commitment to victims of domestic violence.
Lillian Ankrah, Child and Family Counselor at the YWCA Greenwich said, "Angie Hay has worked for the Greenwich Department of Social Services for 11 years. During that time, several of her clients were also clients of Domestic Abuse Services here at the YWCA. Angie has demonstrated her understanding of the complexities of domestic violence through her patience and sensitivity to a client's traumatic experience."
Also on display at the YWCA is the community art exhibit "Behind the Mask: Reflections of a Community" and an interactive wall where visitors can pledge to put an end to domestic violence.