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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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Candlelight Vigil Held for Domestic Violence Victims

Rubye Hutchinson

By Christina Urban

WOODBINE – A small crowd gathered underneath a pavilion for a candlelight vigil to spread domestic violence awareness, and remember lives lost to domestic violence.
This was the third vigil that the Coalition Against Rape and Abuse (CARA) held this year.
Rubye Hutchinson, charter organization representative for Woodbine’s Boy Scout Troop 77 and Cub Scout Troop 77, led the event with a prayer, and discussed how it’s important for children to learn about the dangers of domestic violence.
“We are teaching our young men and ladies that at no time is it acceptable to put their hands on anyone,” Hutchinson said. 
Martina Singleton, director of Sexual Assault Services, CARA, also mentioned that it’s up to adults to teach children about violence to prevent future domestic cases.
“We are the leaders here to educate our children, so that they can take this torch and run with it. Our young males, we need you, our young women, we need you,” Singleton said.
Troop 77 participated in the Clothesline Project for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. With this nationwide project, the kids could express themselves by decorating a t-shirt, as a way to raise awareness about violence against men, women, and children. 
Hutchinson said the kids were also taught about bullying, which is the beginning of domestic violence. 
“They have to understand that even when they make a nasty comment about somebody, it’s not acceptable,” Hutchinson said. “We’re trying to teach the Boy Scouts that integrity means everything. To build their characters, we’re making sure that they’re honest and they are truthful, but most of all, we are trying to teach them that they will be law-abiding citizens as they grow up.”
Corinne DeNapoli, financial empowerment and outreach professional, CARA, spoke about the services the organization supplies. 
“In providing education and support and giving them hope, we are able to help change how victims and survivors can break their silence, break that cycle of violence, and work towards ending that in our own communities,” DeNapoli said.
DeNapoli said that in 2018, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received more than 573,000 calls. Cape May County’s program received over 3,000 calls in one quarter for victims and survivors requesting services. 
DeNapoli and Beverly Bruno, CARA advocate of 10 years, presented Sgt. Michael Hebert, of the Wildwood Crest Police Department, with a purple ribbon award for providing outstanding services to those affected by domestic violence.
“It’s an honor to be able to serve the community in the capacity of being a law enforcement officer and helping victims of domestic violence,” Herbert said.
In the final moments of the vigil, the crowd participated in a candle-lighting ceremony honoring survivors and to remember loved ones lost. White candles in purple cups were lit, and each person dedicated their candles to victims and supporters before blowing them out.
“Tonight we stand here grateful for the strides we have made for victims of violence; however, we must never forget those we have lost to abuse,” DeNapoli said. “We light these candles in honor of loved ones whose lives were taken too soon because of domestic violence.”
To contact Christina Urban, email curban@cmcherald.com.

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