By Marcus Camacho
The “Mujeres de Paz (Women of Peace) – 17th Annual Candlelight March and Vigil” will be held at East Los Angeles College Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. to raise domestic violence awareness.
During the event, members from the crowd will be given a chance to share their stories. The organizers of the event have taken steps to ensure the people will feel comfortable sharing their testaments.
“We will ask them to come up and give a testimonial, if they feel comfortable. Also, they will see some of the survivors who have spoken before, and hopefully they will feel empowered to do the same,” said ELAC’s health and fitness instructor Andrea Owens.
The event last year drew in about 200 people and organizers hope to see that that attendance increase this year.
Members of the East Los Angeles Women’s Center will speak at the beginning of the ceremony and after the march.
Following the speakers, the performances will begin with ELAC’s Let’s Dance Company and a Native American group also will be performing a routine.
Owens said the message the event is is a show of solidarity against violence.
According to Domestic Violence Statistics, a website that features information on abuse, every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S. alone and at least one in every three women has been beaten, forced into sex or abused during her lifetime.
Most occasions, the abuser is a member of the woman’s own family.
A significant fact, according to victims’ service agency, Safe Horizon, is that most domestic violence incidents are never reported.
Safe Horizon reported that survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks and other emotional distress.
Safe Horizon also reported domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
Each year, domestic violence results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and two million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men.
There are more injuries due to domestic violence than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
Domestic violence is most likely to occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and happen at the victim’s home 60 percent of the time. It not only affects women, but the future of the children as well.
Studies show that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
Girls who witness domestic violence and do not receive help are more likely to be abused as teens and adults.
On the other hand, boys who witness domestic violence are twice more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults. According to The American Bar Association, a study of 2,245 children and teenagers found exposure to violence in the home was a great factor in predicting a child’s violent behavior.
The Vigil will meet at the Mural of the La Virgen De Guadalupe on the corner of Mednik and Avenida Cesar Chavez at Belvedere Park. The walk will proceed onto Collegian Avenue and Avenida Cesar Chavez and end at the East Los Angeles College Performing Arts Center Court Yard.
For more information on “Mujeres de Paz – 17th Annual Candlelight March and Vigil” visit elawc.org or call (323) 526-5819.