LIHUE — The YWCA of Kauai will host its annual candlelight vigil on Oct. 19 at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, honoring victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“The month of October is domestic violence awareness month,” said Natalie Isaac, YWCA shelter director. “The vigil is one of the highlights of the month because we’re actually going to be reading the names of the women and men who (were) killed by their partners.”
Each year in the state of Hawaii, 50,000 women between the ages of 18 to 64 are victims of domestic violence. Additionally, one in seven women have been raped in Hawaii, according to the YWCA and Hawaii Says No More.
“In domestic violence, there’s a term called Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and that’s what we work with at the shelter,” Isaac said. “Women who come to the shelter are women who have a partner that’s been abusive.”
This year’s theme, “Rise Up,” is one of courageousness and victory. It aims to inspire those who are victims to spread awareness and find a solution.
“It’s based on this amazing song by Andre Day called ‘Rise Up.’ I wanted the message, ultimately, to be victorious,” Isaac said. “The more awareness that’s brought to this problem, the more we can come together with our voices — bringing our voices together. My message, anywhere I go, is that we all have the same tool to use. And that’s our voice.”
On the side of the YWCA building are the words “Eliminating racism, empowering women.” Isaac hopes that this candlelight vigil will do just that.
“If we start saying the truth, we all have that power,” Isaac said. “We actually have enormous power. The more people realize how prevalent this problem is and the more people know about it, the more we can solve it.”
Entertainment and refreshments begin at 5 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m. The program will close with the lighting of candles at 7 p.m.
For more information on the event, call 245-8404. For assistance dealing with domestic violence, call the YWCA’s 24/7 Crisis Line at 245-6362.