The Crisis Center of Taney County, Mo. holding candlelight vigil honoring survivors, and victims of domestic abuse

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 1:58 PM CDT
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ROCKAWAY BEACH, Mo. (KY3) - As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Crisis Center of Taney County is holding a candlelight vigil Monday night. It’s to honor victims and survivors.

The 26th annual candlelight vigil will be held at the Rockaway Beach Community Center from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Shelters across the nation honor the first Monday in October as a National Day of Unity for domestic violence victims.

The executive director of the center, Becky Vermeire, says it serves a tri-fold purpose.

”To remember those that we’ve lost as a result of domestic violence, to honor the courage and strength of survival, and then together encourage the community to take a stand against domestic violence,” said Vermeire. “It is open to the general public.”

During the vigil, guests will learn about the dynamic of domestic violence, the needs victims have, and the resources to help.

”But, also they get to see an encouraging message from a survivor who has gone through the situation, participated in the services, and now has a complete change of life because of it.”

Shelly Barnes is one of two domestic violence victim advocates at the crisis center. She oftentimes says victims of domestic violence are considered more at fault than the abuser.

”It’s pretty much changing that mindset of the community, so they understand these are victims of violent crimes, and they need our help, not our censure,” said Barnes.

Barnes says abusers will also make victims feel like their actions are expected. The power and control that comes from an abusive situation can slowly take over your life, making it even harder to get out.

”Bringing awareness to that it isn’t normal behavior, you shouldn’t be treated like that by someone who claims to love you,” Barnes said. “There are lots of red flags out there, so learning that info of what is a red flag, what to look for can be really helpful.”

The crisis center is a 24-hour emergency domestic and sexual violence shelter that offers a 90-day shelter program with an option of 24-month transitional housing. It hosts weekly support groups every Tuesday from 5 p.m - 7 p.m. Staff says if you or someone you love is in a relationship that may involve abuse and need help, you can call the crisis center office at 417-561-5105 to speak with a trained staff member.

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