According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2019), “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.” Research studies reveal that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to be affected by violence as adults – either as victims or perpetrators,” (WHO, 2012).
On Monday, October 7th st at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Cruz County Complex the office of the Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office held their 8th Annual Domestic Violence Official Proclamation Peace Walk & Candlelight Vigil in memory of victims of domestic violence who lost their lives and to honor survivors. The goal is to bring community awareness.
The event was well attended by several community leaders and community members. The event opened with a warm welcome by Celeste Rodriguez, SC County Attorney’s Office-Master of Ceremony. Her welcome remarks gave a summary of the activities taking place during the first month of October highlighting Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). DVAM evolved from the “Day of Unity,” which was held in October 1981. It was then conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October 1987.
Alexa Colosio an NHS Senior Student addressed the audience with the meaning of the purple ribbon, which is mainly used during the month of October. Celeste Rodriguez explained to the audience the significance of the Clothesline Project. Painted t-shirts from survivors of domestic violence are displayed in the entrance of the ceiling inside the Santa Cruz County Complex during the entire month of October to promote domestic violence awareness.
“This is a project carried out nationally across the United States and also in other countries. The Clothesline Project is physical evidence that domestic violence exists in our community. The Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office joined this important project in 2012,” said Celeste Rodriguez.
The event then followed with an opening statement on Breaking the Silence by George Silva, the Santa Cruz County Attorney with a reminder to attendees of the importance of reporting domestic violence. “It is important for all of us to advocate and speak up against domestic violence. We all need to be a voice for the victims and survivors of domestic violence,” said County Attorney, George Silva.
Marcos Romero from KNOG Radio Manantial 91.7 F.M followed with a brief prayer and asked the audience for a minute of silence in memory of the victims. Each of the guest speakers had an opportunity to address the public on the issue of domestic violence reminding attendees it is not only a family problem but a community problem.
Attendees listened to an inspirational song by Pres. Jose Manuel y Tere Covarrubias. Instructions for the Candlelight Vigil and Peace Walk were provided by Chips Dolores, Victim Advocate thanking the audience for their continued support and participation.
“This is our 7th year hosting the peace walk and candlelight vigil. Every year we have more people participating, regardless of age, sex, profession, socioeconomic status, and religion. I am deeply moved by the community response to advocate against abuse. There is no excuse for abuse,” said Chip Dolores, Victim Advocate.
The Official Proclamation was done by Manny Ruiz, Vice-Chairman Board of Supervisors in English, while Nidia Solorzano, Victim Advocate did the proclamation in Spanish. It followed with the ribbon-cutting inauguration of domestic violence awareness month by Francisco y Cristina Carrizoza with a memorial balloon release initiating the Candlelight Vigil and Peace Walkthrough Congress Drive, Grand Ave, and Mariposa road.
“On behalf of the Office of the County Attorney, I would like to thank all the people in our community who attended the event specifically the survivors and relatives of the victims of domestic violence. We are grateful to our local law enforcement authorities for their unconditional support. I also want to recognize our local non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, NHS Dance Team, and the media,” said Nidia Solorzano Victim Advocate.
“A special thanks to the Nogales Police Department as they put in place safety measures to help protect our participants during the march. We also want to thank ADOT and Detective Heriberto Zuniga of SCCAO for granting us the permit for the event as without their support the walk would not be possible. They all do a phenomenal job. I have been coordinating this event since 2013. I am deeply grateful to the county attorney for allowing me this opportunity,” said Nidia Solorzano.