The Union Recorder

April 23, 2013

Candlelight vigil to honor domestic violence victims

Felicia Cummings
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County community will come together Thursday to honor the memories of those impacted by domestic violence.

Since 1981, National Crime Victims' Rights Week has encouraged the nation to extend its vision of crime victims' rights and services to reach every victim of crime. This year, National Crime Victims' Rights Week will be observed from April 21 through April 27. Each year, communities and domestic violence organizations across the country honor decades of progress in securing the rights that domestic crime victims need to help rebuild their lives. 

In recognition of the national observance, community members of Baldwin County will honor victims of domestic violence at the annual candlelight vigil. Family members, friends and survivors will light a candle in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to violence. Sponsored by the Baldwin County Office of the Solicitor General, marchers will gather at Bonner Park at 6 p.m. Thursday as they make their way to the Baldwin County Courthouse on Wilkinson Street. Once at the courthouse, guest speakers will deliver personal presentations about domestic violence. 

"Observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week is important because it helps promote victims' rights and gives family and loved ones a chance to honor those they've lost as a result of a crime,” said local Victim's Advocate Johnnie Wilson of the Baldwin County Solicitor General’s Office. 

According to Wilson, no community is immune to domestic violence. 

"We all know of someone who has either lost their life due to domestic violence or who has survived the struggle of rebuilding their life after domestic violence," Wilson said. "It's important that we honor those loved ones who have experienced this struggle." 

A recent incident in Milledgeville brought domestic violence to the forefront of the community. The 2012 murder-suicide of 22-year-old JaLisa Scott and 21-year-old Travis Anderson is a reminder to the community of the severity of domestic violence. On Christmas Eve, Scott was pronounced dead at Oconee Regional Medical Center from a gunshot wound to the head. She was found with multiple gunshot wounds inside her apartment at Georgetown Village Apartments on Highway 49 West. Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the head. 

According to Sheriff Bill Massee, the two had a history of domestic violence issues. 

"It was tragic to see two young lives lost, but domestic violence does not discriminate and all ages can be affected by it,” Wilson said. 

Those interested in taking park in Thursday’s event are asked to call Wilson at 478-445-4445. 

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