Ninth Annual Candlelight Vigil

Alli Getchell, Staff Writer

The Hawthorne Domestic Violence Response Team held their ninth annual candlelight vigil on September 28 for people around New Jersey that have been abused. A couple of people shared words at the event, including domestic violence survivor, Amy Walton. The speakers consisted of LT. John Carbone (Hawthorne D.V. Liaison Officer), Sue P. (Hawthorne DVRT Director), Rev. Susan Schink (Hawthorne DVRT Chaplain), Richard McAuliff (Chief of Police), Richard Goldberg (Mayor), Jessica Abreu (Program Supervisor / Passaic County Women’s Center), and Amy Walton (DV Survivor).

A purple handwritten sign,  “Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence”was attached boldly to the podium where the speakers stood. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, the color violet, representing the cause. More than a handful of citizens stood outside the Hawthorne Municipal Building, to listen and raise awareness. Towards the end of the assembly, Amy Walton, survivor of physical abuse, shares a story about her past partner.

She said, “He was everything I needed, and everything my children needed. A very loving and caring person. But the relationship moved too fast,” She paused her thought and added a side note. “- Another red flag,” Amy continued her story. “We soon moved in together. My son was just [a few years] old, and my partner had taken care of him well. After the move, he began to make me believe that my family and friends were bad people and that I should stay away from them. I was brainwashed with negative facts about those people and soon he had taken them all away, convincing me to let it happen along the way. No phone was allowed and I became isolated in my own home. During this time, I became pregnant. Believe it or not, he hit me while I was pregnant. My daughter, fortunately was born normal [without damage]. After all the hitting, comes the ‘honeymoon’ stage. Where he would apologize and tell me how much he loved me, over and over again. And because I loved him, I took him back.”

A few days later, the abuse would repeat itself. The most difficult part seemed to be that she struggled to hide this from her young children. Finally one day, Amy decided to leave her attacker, after one particularly horrifying encounter.

When she was finished, people distributed small candles, for the audience to light and hold in honor of the survivors and whomever is out there, dealing with this lifestyle. The month of October is a time to spread awareness to “Stop the cycle of violence”.