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YWCA, Faith Partners remember abuse victims

DV March
60 join in march

About 60 people from churches and the community gathered Oct. 3, at the YWCA in Spokane and marched, stopping at City Hall, to the steps of Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral, where they released 50 purple balloons, representing each of the women in Washington state who lost their lives  last year because of domestic violence. 

They also released 50 white balloons representing women who overcame domestic violence in that same period.

Carrera

Betty Carrera speaks at YWCA

“In Guatemala, we consider violence against women to be violence against God,” said Betty Carrera, of the Center for Evangelical Pastoral Studies’ women’s program.  She was visiting Presbyterian partners in Spokane.

A local woman told of early memories of hiding in her basement while family fought upstairs.  She chose to stop the cycle so her children would not have those memories.

City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said she knew the heartache of abuse in family life and was pleased to hear that the faith community was gathering to free women from that violence.

Welcoming marchers at the cathedral, Deacon Chalo Martinez recalled that it took clergy to help “get the civil rights movement rolling so action happened.  I’m glad the faith community is becoming involved with domestic violence.  We can stop it.”

DV pastors

The Revs. Jim CastroLang and Lonnie Mitchell speak to marchers

Mabel Dunbar, president of Polly’s Place shelter and women’s life director at Upper Columbia Academy, said that abuse is a problem because of evil:  “We need to help women on the road back to safety and healing through education and awareness.”

Harlan Dunbar, pastor of East Central Seventh-Day Adventist church, said, “Violence against one person is violence against everyone.  Too many people live in betrayal and duplicity with hidden lives.”  We need to open our churches, synagogues,  and mosques to be places that bring comfort, safety, trust and hope to victims of family and intimate violence.  May we have the courage to stand together against domestic violence.”

DV - balloons

Marchers release balloons

A member of Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church told how sharing her personal story of abuse at church was met with love and acceptance, not the rejection she had feared.

For information, call 534-2307.

By Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree - Copyright © November 2006