PARKERSBURG - About 50 people Tuesday attended a program at Bicentennial Park to kick off October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The ceremony, which concluded with a memorial balloon release, was organized by the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg.
Those attending included residents and those who deal with domestic violence and its effects on a daily basis.
Photo by Wayne Towner
A memorial balloon release was the culmination of a ceremony held Tuesday at Bicentennial Park by the Family Crisis Intervention Center to kick off October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Tuesday's program included a poetry reading, music, a moment of silence and prayer and a proclamation recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month read by Parkersburg police Sgt. Greg Collins on behalf of Mayor Bob Newell.
"It means a lot to see so many people out here working toward domestic violence and eliminating it," said Kim Ort, a member of the FCIC Board of Directors who spoke during the program. "What began two decades ago in scattered communities as a visible gesture of support for survivors and victims of domestic violence today has become one of the most widely recognized symbols of the battered women's movement- the purple ribbon," she said.
Emily Larkin, executive director of the FCIC, said the goal of Tuesday's program was to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence.
"It's also a celebration for survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence," she said.
Throughout the month, Larkin said, she and others involved with the FCIC will be speaking to local groups and organizations. There will be a law enforcement appreciation dinner and other activities will be held in the eight counties served by the center.
On Oct. 12, the center will conduct a fundraiser spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 5-7 p.m. at the Vienna Community Building in Jackson Memorial Park. The event is being sponsored by the Parkersburg Area Realtors Association, with proceeds benefiting the center and its programs, Larkin said.
The center provides a 24-hour victim hotline, shelter, parenting education, case management, legal advocacy, a Kids First intervention center, information and referral for mental health and other services, as well as speakers.