SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Community advocates gathered around the Forsyth Park fountain Friday night to honor the thousands who are impacted by domestic violence every year.
“If we don’t intrude, if we don’t reach out, if we don’t pick up on those signs of domestic violence for someone who is in danger, this could be the end result,” said Maj. Robert Gavin, Savannah Police Department.
The names of 63 men, women, and children who lost their lives to domestic violence in counties all across Georgia in 2019 echoed through Forsyth Park Friday night. SAFE Shelter, along with more community partners like Savannah Police Department and the Rape Crisis Center, lit candles to remember victims and honor survivors.
Savannah Police recently re-added domestic violence detectives to their operations.
“With that hardline focus on those cases, we are able to do a more in-depth follow-up, we are able to track some of the suspects and victims, and we are able to make sure that they get prosecuted to the fullest,” Maj. Gavin said.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. After taking a moment of silence, the biggest crowd organizers have seen in recent years promised to be loud for those still at-risk.
“I keep telling everyone we have to be loud and we have to be noisy because we want every victim everywhere to hear us,” said Cheryl Branch, SAFE Shelter.
Robin Earven, a survivor of domestic violence, shared her story with nearly 100 supporters. She is thankful she heard about SAFE Shelter, and for their continued support.
“They gave me everything to build myself back up, not only outward, but inward. The healing process, the resources, the counselors that talk to me, and to bond with other women and hear their stories," Earven said. “It has blessed me to heal.”