Most Viewed Stories
A light in the dark
Survivors and supporters gather to remember victims of domestic violence
“If you see it get out of it,” Sylvia Bustos, a domestic violence survivor, said Thursday at Centennial Park in downtown Porterville.
Domestic abuse survivors, residents and others came to share their stories of hope and loss at the 14th annual Domestic Violence Candlelight Vigil hosted by the Family Crisis Center. As part of the vigil a string of clotheslines had been setup with different colored shirts that bore different messages of those affected by sexual abuse, rape, assault, those who had been attacked for political or sexual orientation reasons and to remember those who died as a result of violence.
One shirt read:
“I never wanted to have a sexual relationship at ten years old.”
“If you are in a hurtful relationship get help. You don’t have to walk it alone. You are of value. You are important. You are beautiful.”
Executive Director of the Family Crisis Center Anna Green welcomed the crowd.
“October is domestic violence awareness month. It has become a time to celebrate survivors and empower victims,” said Green who then introduced Betty Luna, the shelter director.
“The shelter is here for these victims,” said Luna who introduced Oliva Vega Rangel.
“A victim of domestic violence 20 years she has survived. At that time she had a 2-year-old daughter and it seemed as if she had no hope. It always brings tears to my eyes, tears of joy, as she has become someone whom she wants,” said Luna.
Rangel speaking through interpreter Doran Hernandez shared her thoughts.
“I am a survivor. Some of my decisions that had me arrive at the shelter had to do with my daughter. When I arrived at the shelter I didn’t have a job. I didn’t know how to drive. The shelter made me a stronger person,” said Rangel who also talked about how domestic violence had impacted her extended family. According to Rangel, her aunt, her mother’s sister, was murdered by her husband who was then found as he tried to commit suicide. The husband had been reported several times before, but the police could not do anything as he had not harmed her aunt physically.
“This is a very serious problem that not only marked our family, but our children,” stated Rangel.
Another speaker shared her story of how her daughter had been a victim of domestic violence and was later killed.
After a sign language performance by Signs of Hope directed by Sherrie Eby, candles were distributed and lighted.
Julie Elston, a client advocate, then read the names of each murder victim, their age and what happened. As each name was read a bell was rung.
Mayor Virginia Gurrola believes domestic violence must be stopped.
“It’s like a disease, a cancer. Pray for the victims and families and pray that God will stop this violence,” said Gurrola.
Dr. Guarang Pandya and his wife Ela came to support the community.
“People get into situations they don’t know they can get out of. The more awareness there is in the community the more people can help each other,” said Guarang Pandya.
Green thought the event went smoothly.
“It was a good turnout. We always get victims and families. Tonight I saw other faces that were supportive,” added Green who pointed out that help can be found.
“Our staff is always available. We have a 24-hour hotline,” stated Green.
For more information on the Family Crisis Center visit www.ccfamilycrisis.org. The hotline number is 784-0192.