“I choose to find my way to the light and be the light for other people” domestic violence vigil at state capitol

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Nearly 20 people experience physical abuse every minute according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Today, supporters, family and advocates came together at the state capitol to hold a vigil and honor those victims who have died from domestic violence.

Richara Riddle is a speaker for the Capitol Area Survivor Speakers Bureau and sexual and domestic violence survivor and shares her story to help other survivors.

“Sharing my story and being in a space where other people are courageous and brave to do the same thing is incredibly invigorating and it helps me to do even more work of advocacy,” said Riddle.

Riddle says it also helps her stay “glowing in the dark.”

“You can’t have the light without the darkness, and I’ve experienced many traumatic things in my life that could have kept me in darkness, but I choose to find my way to the light and be the light for other people,” said Riddle.

Riddle spoke at the vigil today about how everyone can play a role in “the war that is domestic violence.”

“It’s important that we hold perpetrators accountable and that we hold the people that enabled them accountable, which are the people that minimize abuse and minimize behaviors and blame victims, as opposed to speaking to perpetrators and their actions,” said Riddle.

Today’s vigil was a chance for people to share stories, read poems and connect with others in the community.

“When we look at survivors, they’re everywhere and you know they’re walking down the street but there are rare times when we can actually come together as a group and have a shared thing in common and say hey we’re going to take this time and sit down and recognize what brings us together and how we can put an end to future violence,” said program coordinator for the CARE Program, Rosalind Arch.

Lansing Mayor, Andy Schor, announced an official proclamation to declare October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” in Lansing.

“From a legislative level, it’s very important from the grass roots all the way up, to have people in places that give voice to the issues that fall under domestic violence,” said Riddle.

Arch says education about survivors and domestic violence is helpful to getting more people wanting to end this epidemic.

“I hope that next year and the year after that the attendance at this vigil keeps growing and the community keeps having interest in what we’re doing here because it’s so important,” said Arch, “I’ve talked to survivors who come to these events and they tell me ‘I didn’t know that people cared,’ so it’s nice seeing people come to these events.”

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