Refuge House holds candlelight vigil for survivors and victims of domestic violence

“It’s an opportunity for people who have been through domestic violence to come and have their story heard and be a part of something that really honors them."
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Thursday night, several dozen Tallahassee residents came together for a candlelight vigil to illuminate the problem of domestic violence.

The event was put together by Refuge House, a local domestic and sexual violence center.

One attendee, Niya Hubbard, recalled her struggles with experiencing domestic abuse.

“I used to bring myself down and be like, ‘How could you let that happen?’” she said.

Hubbard says it took her years to feel comfortable talking about what she went through.

“The hardest part is forgetting your self-worth,” she said. “And then knowing like, ‘No, I’m better than this. And this is something I don’t have to deal with.’”

Hubbard said she experienced domestic violence as a teen and is lucky to have made it through stronger.

She was one of several who lit candles to honor survivors and victims of domestic abuse.

“I know that the trauma is so significant and so impactful for people who have been abused,” said Emily Mitchem, executive director of the Refuge House. “It’s essential and critical that we provide the best possible services to help them.

The agency provides emergency shelter to those who need to leave an unsafe environment. They also offer counseling and advocate for victims in court.

Mitchem says this event helps provide a safe space for survivors to be recognized and supported.

“It’s an opportunity for people who have been through domestic violence to come and have their story heard and be a part of something that really honors them,” she said.

For Hubbard, the most important part is realizing she’s not alone.

“At one point in my life, I did feel like I was the only one experiencing it. But then when you meet other people, and you realize they may be in something worse or going through the same experience, you realize ‘Hold on, I’m not the only one.’”

According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.

Refuge House has a 24-hour crisis hotline for anyone experiencing domestic violence.

That number is 850-681-2111.