Candlelight vigil will honor victims of domestic violence - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Candlelight vigil will honor victims of domestic violence

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October 25, 2007

Albany--It's a disturbing statistic. Every fifteen seconds at least one woman is battered. It's also estimated that every year in the United States, approximately 3 million women are assaulted by their partner. One organization here in Albany is hoping to continue bringing awareness to just how serious domestic violence really is.

Tonight, organizers with the Liberty House, a shelter that houses battered women, will hold a candle light vigil at Darton College to pay tribute to victims of domestic violence. They will also remember the dozens of victims who've died from domestic violence this year. By doing so, organizers hope to call attention to a growing problem here in Georgia.

So far this year, domestic violence has claimed the lives of fifty-nine people in Georgia. "We're a patriarchal society. Society has approved the fact that men can beat their wives." Silke Deeley is the executive director for the Liberty House in Albany. "Our facility has 24 beds, and our shelter is pretty much full most of the time," she says.

Statistics show that domestic violence and sexual assault are the leading cause of injuries for women living in Georgia.  "It's not just poor women that are victims. We have a lot of victims in the upper end of society. And, unfortunately, those women aren't going to report as readily as women in other kinds of circumstances," she says.

Approximately thirty percent of Georgia women will be abused at least once by their partners during their lifetime. "Anytime you have an imbalance in a relationship, when one person is controlling and has more power in that relationship than the other one, then that's an abusive relationship," she says.

And abusers can be anybody--not fitting any particular profile. "We've had pastors of churches be abusive. The reason that people abuse is because they can, and they've learned that's the way they get what they need," she says.

Tonight's candlelight vigil hopes to continue bringing awareness to just how serious domestic violence really is. "If a community has enough awareness and everyone is responding as they should, we shouldn't be having murders, at least not related to domestic violence," she says.

And when domestic violence impacts one person directly, Deely says it impacts everyone else indirectly."Domestic violence has serious ramifications for all of society. It costs billions of dollars in this country because of what happens in homes where there is domestic violence. So it impacts the workplace. It impacts our health system. And it impacts our communities," she says.

The candlelight vigil will kick off at 7 PM at Darton College. For more information, you can contact the Liberty House at 439-7094.

And if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you're asked to seek help immediately. You can call the Liberty House crisis hot-line at 439-7065.

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