WARREN - The faces of approximately 60 people were illuminated by bright candles honoring both the survivors of domestic violence and those who lost their lives to it during Someplace Safe's 19th annual Unity Day at the Courthouse Square Gazebo.
The men, women and children also sought to connect with those who work to end domestic violence every day.
October is Domestic Violence Month.
Ella Dumke, staff member of Someplace Safe, left, Nicole Swiger of Warren, who lit the “struggle” candle, center, and Lori Gladding of Warren, who lit the “Hope” candle, right, hold their candles in unity during the closing of Someplace Safe’s 19th Annual Unity Day program in Courthouse Square Monday evening.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
"We see domestic violence growing in our county," Bonnie Wilson, director of domestic violence and visitation for Someplace Safe in Warren, said. "Our shelter has been filled to capacity every day since the first of the year."
Someplace Safe was incorporated in 1977.
The Someplace Safe shelter has a capacity of approximately 10 to 12 women and another 15 to 20 children.
Wilson emphasized there is no one reason why domestic violence has become more common in recent years.
"Economics sometime play a role," she said. "People argue about finances and sometimes that leads to violence."
Wilson, however, says there are many reasons why violence can enter a domestic situation, including envy, jealousy, possessiveness or more subtle signs of abuse.
"It can lead to rape and murder," Wilson said. "Often, people who are in a domestic violence situation will reach out to a close friend or a family member."
"We have to listen to what they are saying," she continued.
More than 12.7 million people annually are physically abused, raped or stalked by their partners.
"That is 24 people every minute," she said. "Survivors of domestic violence celebrate their lives, their freedoms and who they are."
Carney Maiorca of Cortland says there appears to be more incidents in which children are involved.
"We want to reach out and help them get to a safe place," Maiorca said.
Creating awareness to the community is important to combat domestic violence, said Patty Callahan of Champion.
"When people know how it happens and the options they have we help find ways to reduce it," Callahan said.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said the impact of domestic violence is wide ranging and it affects people of all races, income levels, sexes and religious backgrounds.
"Approximately one million incidents of domestic violence reported annually," Franklin said. "It cost the nation billions of dollars every year."
Franklin says it cost communities in police, fire, the courts and jails; hospitals in charity care; and companies in production hours.