Friday, October 14, 2011
Vigil illuminates horrors of domestic abuse
Have you heard?
'Have you heard?'
- Urban Professional League debuts awards for professional achievement
- Wells Fargo makes 2 donations in area
- Dancing with the Valley Stars dancers step up donations
- Seniors may renew vows on Feb. 14 at Elm Park Estates
- Kroger customers donate $10,000 to effort aimed at fighting cancer
Amy Peters is full of spunk despite being dependent on a wheelchair and having two bullets lodged in her brain.
"I was a victim of domestic violence," she announced from the stage during a recent candlelight service in the Dale Avenue chapel of the Salvation Army.
"The man I was married to shot me and nearly killed me. I had had a child with him, and he shot me four times the day after our fifth anniversary," she said during the domestic violence awareness event.
Peters couldn't talk for four months after the shooting, and her speech is still sporadic, but she's willing to share her experience to encourage others to get out of violent situations.
Her paralysis hasn't stopped Peters from living alone or lending her support to Turning Point, the Roanoke shelter where she lived while putting her life back together about 19 years ago.
"It was horrible until I got to the Turning Point and Salvation Army. They took me in. â€ They had groups and all kinds of activities. It was fun there, but it was horrible knowing all of us were there for the same reason."
During the service - an annual observance, with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month - candles were lit in memory of 16 women who have died by the hands of a spouse, boyfriend or family member since 2002.
"People are afraid and sometimes ashamed to ask for help to get out of these situations, so we light these candles," Roanoke Police Chief Chris Perkins said after Peters spoke.
Noting that the number of domestic violence cases has increased in the city over the past year, Perkins implored those in attendance to help end the domestic violence cycle. He asked the audience to contact legislators and let them know the importance of funding shelters and serv-ices for victims.
"Enough is absolutely enough, and there is help available. We've got to find a way to reach individuals who are suffering," -Perkins said, encouraging families and friends to listen for distress signals and "do what you can."
"Don't let someone you love continue to suffer at the hand of offenders. We've got to send a difficult message to offenders: It must stop," Perkins said.
He said that usually when police get involved, "it's so bad we have a difficult time helping individuals."
In recognizing Roanoke Valley police departments, Darlene Young, Turning Point's director, said police officers are "probably the most unappreciated people in the city," but for the staff and clients at Turning Point "it is a comfort seeing you going up and down the street."