Vigil honors victims and survivors of domestic violence

Abbey Nutter

First Christian Church held its annual domestic violence vigil on Tuesday night, a candlelit event in which the names of Kentucky victims were read aloud and a survivor of domestic violence shared her story.

After an introduction by the host of the evening, Aleea Whitmire took a deep breath before making her way to the podium from her seat in the first row. Whitmire then announced that she was a survivor of domestic violence and began to recite her story.

“Domestic violence is like this country’s dirty little secret,” Whitmire said. “Everyone knows it is happening, but until it directly affects you or someone you love, it isn’t talked about.”

As her time to share went on, Whitmire cited a blog post she made in July, which was an open letter to her abuser, assigned to her in therapy.

I hope you learn to be a better human,” Whitmire said. “I hope one day you can respect yourself and other people in a way that you never have. I pray for you nothing but happiness and life.”

When Whitmire took her seat, seven more people made their way to the podium. In turn, each recited names of Kentuckians who had lost their lives to domestic violence in recent years. One name from Warren County was added to the list this past year, and the room was filled with emotion as the names were read off.

After closing the ceremony to still flickering candles, Tori Henninger later said recognizing the victims help remember them, their family and community.

Other members of the community stayed to chat with one another, such as Marta Woosley, who survived domestic violence when she was a child. Woosley said the event is important because it remembers those lost in the past and so the same mistakes are not made.

Reporter Abbigail Nutter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].