During FamilyTime’s annual Candlelight Vigil, a table near the entrance displayed 28 candles, a solemn remembrance of women who died as victims of domestic violence in Harris County in 2016. In 2016, 146 women total in the state of Texas were fatal victims of domestic violence – the youngest victim was 15 years old and the oldest, 92 years old.
Every year, FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center hosts a candlelight vigil during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to honor and bring recognition to those women who lost their lives due to domestic violence. According to reports, family violence cases affect 24,000 people in Texas.
“The color purple has been designated as the color for domestic violence,” Judy Cox, FamilyTime’s executive director, said during the vigil Oct. 18. “We know domestic violence affects so many of us.”
During the ceremony, the names of each victim from Harris County were read aloud and a bell was rung for every one of their names. Cox said the significance of the ringing bell, the candles and reading their names is important to recognize the women who lost their lives due to domestic violence. “October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence awareness agencies worldwide will host various activities to increase public awareness about the impact domestic violence has on individuals, families and the community,” Cox said.
The Texas Council on Family Violence reports that 74 percent of all Texans have either experienced family violence themselves or have a family member or friend who has in their lifetime.
During the ceremony, Cox recounted the story of Atascocita resident, Farah Fratta, who was killed by her husband in 1994 and its affect on the entire community to this day.
“Our role at FamilyTime is to offer services to victims and increase awareness in the community,” Cox said. “Our shelter continues to see more than 700 women, men and children. This year, through September, we have sheltered 490 clients, turning away 668 victims due to space constraints.”