Fairfield vigil casts light on domestic violence toll
Updated 1:27 pm, Friday, October 21, 2011
The names were read -- 21 in all -- by volunteers on the steps of the Sherman Green gazebo Thursday evening. Also read was the cause of death for each of those 21 people -- gunshot wounds and stabbings, primarily. And the perpetrators of those deaths: her husband, his mother, his son.
All of the victims were Connecticut residents and all died in the past year from domestic violence. To mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a candlelight vigil was held at the green with about 45 people in attendance.
"In the last four weeks there have been five murder-suicides that were on that list," said Deborah Greenwood, director of the Center for Women and Families, the agency that organized the event. "They've already started the list for next year."
The center opened a satellite office in Fairfield a year ago. Since that time, that office has worked on cases involving 232 Fairfield residents, Greenwood said.
Tina Gagne said she is a survivor of domestic abuse, and when she and her son escaped her abusive boyfriend, she learned how to be free with the help of the center. "When I first started to take walks to ease my stress, I realized I didn't have to time them," she said. "I no longer had to hide my cell phone or my clothes. This feeling of freedom is priceless."
Gagne advised that if a co-worker or neighbor needs someone to talk to, "be that person."
"The future is education and prevention," Greenwood said. "The hope is really our youth."