WISE to host event honoring survivors of domestic violence

EVART — Survivors of domestic violence will have the chance to share their stories and be surrounded by community support at the upcoming Out of the Darkness, Into the Light vigil in Evart.

This year's event will at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10, at the Evart United Methodist Church, located at 619 N. Cherry St. in Evart.

In its second year, the event presented by Women’s Information Service Inc. aims to bring awareness to domestic abuse and relationship violence, said Teresa Mora, WISE Osceola County domestic violence outreach coordinator.

“We gather to celebrate those who have survived abuse and now are working toward healthy relationships for themselves and their children, as well as mourn those who have lost their lives to violence,” Mora said.

The event begins in the church with an all-faith ceremony. Survivors will share stories and an officer from the Evart Police Department also will speak. Afterward, attendees will proceed outside for the candlelight ceremony.

“At that time, anyone who wants to can say the name of someone they want to remember or offer up whatever story they want and be surrounded by a circle of support,” said Whitney Buffa, WISE program director. “We had people who came last year and shared stories about people they had lost to domestic violence.”

The candles being lit as well as the event’s name are reflective of the need to shine light on the topic of domestic abuse, Mora said.

“Domestic violence, just like sexual assault, operates in darkness with lots of threats and barriers preventing people from leaving the situations,” she said. “We want to show those who may be hurting we are here to help. There are resources and organizations that will help them start over.”

The Out of the Darkness, Into the Light event will not be a very long service, as it’s meant to be short and reflective, Buffa said.

“This is a good moment where we can honor the cause by coming together to reflect on the stories of domestic violence survivors,” she said. “This is the space we’ve reserved for this month, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. There is no fundraising aspect. We will be happy to just have people come to participate, honor and support those impacted by domestic violence.”

Cookies and fellowship will follow the end of the vigil.

Anyone in need of help overcoming an abusive relationship can contact WISE at (800) 374-9473.