PARKERSBURG - Victims of domestic violence were honored by people tossing purple flowers into the Ohio River Monday.
A candlelight vigil held in Point Park Monday night was to honor October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the 30 domestic violence deaths that occured in West Virginia this past year.
About 50 people showed up at the park amphitheater in purple to symbolize the color keeping women all over the country holding onto a symbol of hope.
Celena Roby speaks to the gathering at the Point Park amphitheater during a domestic violence vigil Monday. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
The domestic violence shelter in Wood County serves eight counties and housed 3,006 domestic violence victims in the last year.
Emily Larkins, executive director of the Family Crisis Intervention Center, said each year the crisis center tries to sponsor an event to recognize individuals who have lost their lives to domestic violence.
"Today we join women and men across the country to send the message domestic violence is unacceptable," Larkins said to the crowd. "We must support efforts to end abuse."
Some victims of domestic violence spoke before the crowd to show their strength and thank the crisis center for its help through a difficult time in their lives.
"Six years ago I walked into the crisis intervention center," said Celena Roby of Wirt County. "They showed me I could survive and I was worth surviving."
Roby said she wanted to thank the people who had helped her by lending a helping hand.
Jacqueline Landreth read a poem she wrote to the crowd of people. Through her tears she read the lines of her poem, including the lines about her children being a part of the abuse their mother had to endure.
"Pain from all of the times my babies have had to say, 'Mommy are you OK, why does daddy treat you this way,'" she said. "Tears from all of the years I've wasted letting you push me around and slap me down."
"Forever taking my smile and leaving a frown," Landreth said.
She ended her poem with the words, "I don't need, want or love you anymore."
By being a symbol for hope, Roby said the purple ribbons remind not only her as a survivor but others to remember the victims who weren't so lucky.
Larkins said the organization hopes to do the vigil at the park in the future. She said the turnout was excellent and the flowers thrown into the water were a great symbol of hope for those in attendance.
For more information or to volunteer call the shelter at 304-428-2333. More information on the local shelter and services is available online at www.fcichaven.org.
The 24-hour hotline for the local center is 1-800-794-2335 or 304-428-2333.