BLACKFOOT – Community members from all over Bingham County and law enforcement took part in two candlelight vigils to stand with victims of domestic violence and to also bring public awareness to this issue.
The two vigils took place at Jensen Grove on Wednesday evening, and the Shelley City Park on Thursday evening.
T-shirts were displayed. One read, “Violence—a legacy children should never inherit.”
There were daisies on display to signify the men, women, and children who were helped this past year. There were white ones to represent the children, yellow ones to represent the women, and a blue one to represent the man who was also helped.
“This vigil is for public education and to, hopefully, let anyone know about there is help if they are victims of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault or teen dating violence of any kind,” said Dixie Chapman, executive director of Bingham Crisis Center (BCC). “We want to let them come in to see the services we provide or just be an ear to listen to them.”
“In our safe, beautiful Idaho, we rank seventh in the nation for violence done to women,” said Chapman.
Statistics gathered in 2011 cite 22 fatalities in Idaho. Fourteen of those were against women and children, one police officer who was killed in the line of duty, and the rest were suicide.
"My aunt is part of the BCC, and I've always been interested in what she does. It feels good to be able to be a part of something like this,"said Sydnee Killpack.
In the state of Idaho, 638 victims of domestic violence and their children seek safety and services from community-based domestic violence programs, like the Bingham Crisis Center.
In just this past year the BCC has helped 364 people, has issued 81 Personal Protection Orders, offered 4,266 various services, have provided financial assistance to 25 people, and have also offered 1,055 hours of individual and group counseling assistance.
"The turn out this year has been wonderful. Anytime we can bring people together to raise awareness is a success," Chapman continues, "We are so proud of Sydnee for taking on the Shelley project, we know that the information will make it's way into the community."
As of Sept 13 of this year, there have been more domestic violence victims than there were in 2012.
Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue has officially declared October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“I want to mitigate and help eliminate domestic violence,” said Virtue. “Even one is too many.”
A former client at Bingham Crisis Center wrote, “I have my own skeletons but I have let them out, turned them into dust and they now fertilize my flowers.”
The Bingham Crisis Center provides services to help victims. Three phones lines are available 24-hours each day. One of the lines is in Spanish. Feel free to call at anytime: 208-785-1047.