Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Reflecting Upon Our Survivor 2023 Vigil

Reflection. Remembrance. Rejuvenation. Resilience. These are only a handful of the words we can use to illustrate the impact of our Annual Vigil.  The Charles A. Brown Ice House of Bethlehem set the stage with its inviting embrace; the echoes being filled with uplifting music by Dina Hall.  Each space of the venue was carefully crafted, guiding participants through a circle of healing

Right from the start, participants were greeted with resources and educational materials to help spread awareness of th epidemic of domestic and intimate partner abuse.  Supportive, empathetic staff and volunteers stood ready to welcome all.  Attendees were guided to visit our Remembrance Room, lined with luminaries; honoring eight of our own Lehigh Valley residents and the 104 other Pennsylvanians who lost their lives to domestic and intimate partner abuse this past year alone.  As the candles in each luminary flickered, it is as though each person continued to shine their light both for us and through us. The focal point of the room was our Empty Place at the Table, set with care, highlighting how these empty spaces can never fully be refilled in the hearts, or tables, of their loved ones.

Video compliments of Nika Bel with Serenika Productions

In the main stage of auditorium our Executive Director kicked off our focus for the evening, reminding us that we are each vital in the fight to eliminate domestic and intimate partner abuse, but also to empower survivors in all we endeavor. Our three brave survivor speakers conducted our evening’s journey into understanding the dynamics of abuse, allowing us a glimpse into their pain and frustration, their purposeful determination to support survivors, and using the time to call each member of the community to action in believing survivors. Our survivor speakers concluded on a hopeful note, reminding us that we are not the sum of our experiences, but that we can overcome and heal with the right support, safety, and protections in place.

As we took a moment of silence, the radiant intensity of each individual candle honored our Lehigh Valley residents whose lives will forever be affected due to domestic and intimate partner abuse. Our program wound down with an air of hope, an emphasis on compassionate action, leaving each of us with the souvenir of community, togetherness, and connectedness. The exit, glimmering with lights and framed by our Clothesline project, allowed the words of our survivors and their loved ones to once again surround us with their experiences, finalizing the evening through uplifting their voices. After all, “you are not defined by your scars, but by the incredible courage it took to heal.”