Story By: Beth Fitzpatrick

The Center for Family Justice, with the support of community leaders and law enforcement in the six communities it serves, has scheduled series of vigils to mark the observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

These seven vigils, which will take place at 6 p.m. beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the Bridgeport Police Department, will honor those who have been impacted by intimate partner violence; raise awareness and inspire hope that the cycles of violence can be broken.

The vigils will also remind local residents that domestic violence homicides—with a total of nine in Connecticut so far this year—are a problem in every demographic and community in the state and region.

Each vigil will include a solemn reading of the names of the people who lost their lives to domestic violence in Connecticut in 2018 and so far in 2019.

The 2018 vigil schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, October 1: Bridgeport Police Headquarters, Bridgeport
  • Thursday, October 3: University of Bridgeport Student Center
  • Tuesday, October. 8: Easton Community Center Gazebo
  • Tuesday, October 15: Stratford Town Hall Green
  • Wednesday, October 16: Monroe Town Hall Gazebo
  • Thursday, October 17:: Community Room, Trumbull Library
  • Tuesday, October 22: Fairfield’s Sherman Green Gazebo.

Debra A. Greenwood, CFJ’s President and CEO, will join police chiefs and community leaders in each town, to speak to their hope that the statistics on domestic violence can improve with continued dedication to protecting victims and educating the public about prevention.
“This has been a particularly challenging year for those of us who care about victims of intimate partner violence,” said Greenwood. “Sadly, we have had several domestic violence homicides in recent months– as well as a high profile missing person’s case in New Canaan– that have put a spotlight on just how insidious and dangerous intimate partner abuse can be in the lives of victims.”

Greenwood noted recent cases involving the August murder of Meriden mother Perrie Mason; the murder of Chesire mother Monica Dominguez and the case of missing mother New Canaan mother-of-five Jennifer Dulos, in which police have said violence is suspected and her estranged husband has been implicated on charges related to her disappearance, have highlighted that domestic violence has multiple victims. “We continue to be concerned about the amount of domestic violence taking place in homes where children are present and witness to this horrific acts,” Greenwood said. “Domestic violence causes residual trauma that can impact its primary and secondary victims for generations.”

Greenwood noted the vigils also serve the purpose of allowing victims to know that at CFJ there is a safe place, close to home, where they can receive free and comprehensive services to help them lead lives free of trauma and abuse. These services include free counseling, emergency shelter, 24/7 crisis hotlines and civil legal services. “Every year, I hear a story at a vigil from someone in attendance who feels compelled to come forward with their experiences with domestic violence because of the support they feel at our vigils,” Greenwood said. “That tells me how important it us for us to gather together to demonstrate that there is entire community behind them ready of offer its support.”

CFJ’s vigils begin at 6 p.m., are appropriate for all ages, and open to the public.

Please follow CFJ’s social media channels (Facebook/Twitter) or visit its website CenterforFamilyJustice.org for updates on rain locations.

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