RICHMOND, Va. -- The YWCA of Richmond held its annual Remember My Name vigil Thursday night to honor lives lost to domestic and intimate partner violence while also raising awareness about the troubling trend during Domestic Violence Awareness month.
The organization has been hosting the event for nearly three decades for families and survivors to share their stories.
“It means so much to be part of this community and tell the real stories of who we are," YWCA of Richmond CEO Rupa Murthy said. "It’s important to make sure women are safe and can live in violence-free homes and don’t have to suffer a fatality or violence in their homes every day.”
Danielle Gilbert recalled how she endured partner abuse just like others in her family.
“I witnessed my mother endure unimaginable physical abuse," Gilbert said. "I saw the toll it took on her, her spirit, her confidence and her belief in her own worth."
Gilbert credited courage and support from her community and family for her ability to finally break the cycle.
She told her story to validate how difficult getting help can be while also encouraging people in similar circumstances to seek help to reclaim their power.
Tamika Cousins said she never imagined that she would be one of one in three women nationally that reports find will endure partner abuse in their lifetime.
She recounted how she was emotionally, financially and mentally abused in a relationship.
Cousins said a turning point forced her into getting help to heal from the situation. She is now focused on advocating for other women so they do not have to suffer in silence like she did.
“Love don’t hurt and love is not pain,” Cousins said.
The YWCA has seen an increase in calls to their 24/7 hotline for people needing help to get out of abusive situations.
In fact, officials said the calls they have received over the last year have been more severe. The agency has helped survivors needing to get themselves and their children out of unsafe situations.
The YWCA’s 24/7 hotline is available for anyone to call or text 804-612-6126. They are able to provide services regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, English language ability or immigration status.
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