By Julia Peoples
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Mississippi Domestic Violence Rally 2019 is hosting a candlelight vigil to honor those who have recently been killed due to domestic violence in Oxford and around the state.
The vigil will be hosted on the Square on the same day that the National Domestic Violence Rally will occur in Washington, D.C. The rally marks the beginning of National Domestic Violence Awareness month in October.
The vigil, which will take place on the lawn of the Lafayette County Courthouse, is set to begin at 6 p.m.
“Awareness matters because people do not realize they are in a domestic violence situation until it is too late because they don’t have the knowledge about the warning signs and different types of abuse. It can build,” said Millissa C. Wilson, director of the Mississippi Domestic Violence Rally 2019.
The Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in Mississippi have suffered from “severe physical violence by an intimate partner.”
In addition to this, 48 percent of women and men have experienced psychological abuse by a partner.
“I’m a survivor myself,” Wilson said, “I want to give back. I got away, I became free, but it took a lot of work to get there. I want to raise awareness so people can educate themselves on the signs. I want to work together with other organizations. Something has to change. We have to help victims with their transition back into society, with job training, and with their health. Awareness is first.”
Wilson also said that this year alone, she has known four women who were killed in domestic violence situations.
“I trust God to send the right people and connect us with the right organizations. We can help people and we really can save lives. I’ve seen lives lost,” she said.
If you are struggling with domestic violence, the state hotline is available 24/7 at 1(800)898-3234 and the national hotline is 1(800)799-7233.