The Refuge Utah holds Domestic Violence Awareness event

Provo residents participate in a candlelight walk for domestic violence awareness. The Refuge Utah offers resources to support victims of domestic violence. (Annika Ohran)

The Refuge Utah put on a candlelight walk on Oct. 12 in support of domestic violence to raise awareness for what people can do to get help.

The event happens annually in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Speakers addressed audience members before the walk. Speaker Mary Crafts told her story with domestic violence to those who attended.

“Not so long ago, I was actually the founder of the first domestic women’s violence shelter in Utah. What I didn’t know back then was that seven years after I left that job, I would be there myself,” Crafts said. “I want people to become aware that the problem exists right here and probably in your neighbor’s home. Mary Crafts, me, I was a victim of domestic violence for 28 years. I don’t want hiding anymore because as long as you’re hiding the healing cannot start.”

After the speakers finished, those who attended lit candles and walked across downtown Provo from the courthouse to the Covey Center. The candles shone in the darkness as participants walked together through the cold night. Once they reached the Covey Center, the event continued with live music and refreshments.

Participant Desarae Garcia shared she advocates for victims of domestic violence because of her own experiences with it.

“The night tonight was beautiful, the candles … I think it’s a great representation to bring awareness to something like this. I unfortunately grew up in a home of domestic violence and an abusive home,” Garcia said. “It makes me so happy that all these people are here supporting. And … it also makes my heart sad that, you know, many people that are here are probably here because they experienced domestic violence themselves or somebody that they know.”

Ashlee Taylor, executive director of The Refuge Utah, explained how awareness can help those experiencing domestic violence.

“Domestic violence can be something that people suffer in silence often. And we want them to know that there’s a community around them that is there to support them whenever they’re ready to reach out. There is strength and there is hope,” Taylor said.

Anyone can call The Refuge Utah’s hotline at 801-377-5500 to get help for others or themselves.

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