Victims of Abuse Remembered

By Pamela Bond

North Texas Daily

Oct. 27, 2005

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As each name was called out, white-faced men and women stepped forward, lit candles in their hands.

But the names called were not their own – they were the names of all the women killed by abuse last year in Texas.

One hundred fourteen names were read, and 114 people stood up last night to honor them at Denton County Friends of the Family’s annual candlelight vigil.

“We’re here tonight not just to honor the hundreds that have died, but the thousands that have survived this as well,” Tiffanie Coleman, community education coordinator for Denton friends of the family, said.

During the vigil, held at the courthouse on the square, Joe Mulroy, councilman at large for precinct 6, announced October the official “violence awareness month” for Denton County.

NT student Tabitha Crowe danced to the poem “I Got Flowers Today,” and afterwards Coleman read off the names of abuse victims, two of whom were from Denton County.

As each name was read, a representative for the victim came forward and together they formed a circle.

“As I look around I see the white faces that represent those women that, as we call them, were lost in the battle – the battle that happens every day,” Coleman said.

Then, from the middle of the circle, they released 25 butterflies, representing the 25 years Friends of the Family has been servicing the community.

“We’ve had the opportunity to serve and witness the transformation of victims of relationship violence,” Coleman said. “Please know these butterflies, in their flight to freedom, represent the thousands of women and children who flew so high, they survived.”

Veda McGregor, a survivor of abuse, told her story at the vigil.

“With people like Friends of the Family and a good support system of friends and family and church family, there really is hope for those of us,” McGregor said. “We don’t have to take it anymore. You don’t have to be silent anymore. There are laws in place. There’s a whole support system in place so we’re not dangling out there feeling hopeless and helpless.”

Friends of the Family has a 24-hour hotline available for those in need: 940-382-7273 or 800-572-4031, or visit www.dcfof.com.

“I prefer to call myself a ‘victor’ instead of a ‘victim,’” McGregor said.