WomenShelter of Long Beach (WSLB) is joining forces with local sponsors to host its seventh annual candlelight walk and vigil on Friday, Oct. 18 at 6pm “to increase awareness and support for combating escalating domestic violence in California,” according to WSLB.
Together with the City of Long Beach’s Human Dignity Program, A Window between Worlds, and the ArtExchange, WSLB will host a walk and vigil followed by a survivor art exhibition and workshops. Participants will have an opportunity to create artwork designed to enlighten and empower.
In addition, during the We Can community event, participants can view survivors’ artwork and celebrate the lives saved through WSLB’s programs and services. A spoken-word presentation and light refreshments will be included.
According to WSLB, local officials who plan to attend include 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske, Long Beach Prosecutor Douglas Haubert, Long Beach Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Luna and Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal. The Long Beach Victim Impact Program DA’s and the Victim Witness Assistants will also join the walk.
“We’re asking all those who are committed to fighting abuse to join us for an evening of reflection, renewed resolve and gratitude for the success stories,” says Wendy Asman, executive director of WSLB. “The incidents of domestic violence in Greater Los Angeles and Long Beach have increased and worsened in severity since the economic downturn, while funding for services has been sharply reduced. This is a frightening confluence of circumstances which has led to an even greater need for expanded community support.”
In recent years, three domestic violence agencies in WSLB’s service area drastically reduced services and/or closed their doors, according to WSLB. Consequently, the agency has experienced a 27-percent increase in unduplicated calls to its hotline, a 37-percent increase in the number of unduplicated requests for shelter and a 13-percent increase in unduplicated requests for outreach services, according to WSLB.
The 2012 Mount St. Mary’s College Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California indicates that 40 percent of the state’s female population experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime compared to a 33-percent rate on the national level. The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV) released a report in May that in just one 24-hour period in 2012, domestic violence programs statewide were unable to meet 1,170 requests for assistance– more than two-thirds of those requests were for emergency shelter or transitional housing.
“Domestic violence is a public-health crisis,” adds Asman. “In human, economic and public-safety terms, abuse across the U.S. takes a staggering toll–$67 billion spent on law enforcement, $6.5 billion on health care and business losses of three-to-six billion. These statistics don’t even begin to account for the lives cut short, families torn apart, unrealized opportunities and scars left on future generations. With a big turnout, we’re hopeful that the fight against domestic violence will be reinvigorated during our Oct. 18 walk, vigil and post-vigil We Can event.”
Since 1977, WSLB has provided direct services to more than 13,000 domestic violence victims and their children, serving 1,100 victims every year. To find out more about the upcoming event and to lend your support to WSLB, call (562) 437-7233 or visit womenshelterlb.org