Survivors share story at domestic violence vigil

By Kitsey Burns Harrison - kburns@yadkinripple.com
A candlelight vigil is held in honor of Domestic Violence awareness month. - Kitsey Burns Harrison | Yadkin Ripple
Survivors and supporters join together to honor the lives of domestic violence survivors. - Kitsey Burns Harrison | Yadkin Ripple

A small crowd gathered Thursday evening at Yadkinville United Methodist Church to remember victims of domestic violence.

Several survivors spoke at the event, including Stephanie Spooner, who shared a poem, and Vernetta Cockerham, who lead the candlelight vigil. Bernetta Thigpen of the North Carolina Council for Women and Pastor Junior Thompson also spoke at the ceremony.

Domestic violence survivor Sarah Tweed shared the harrowing details of the day her husband tried to kill her.

She survived the vicious attack and now works to empower others who may be in situations much like the one she endured.

Tweed said the abuse she lived through prior to the day it culminated in her near death was not physical.

“Abuse comes in many different forms, it’s not just physical, mine just ended in physical.”

She told of the emotional, psychological and verbal abuse inflicted upon her during her relationship. Tweed said her goal is now to share her story with other survivors in hopes that her experience can aid others in escaping from their tormentors.

Jonesville Police Capt. Scotty Vestal, whom Tweed called her hero, spoke as well. He spoke of his own heroes — the survivors of domestic violence.

“You are God’s masterpiece. Never allow anyone to cause you to believe any different,” Vestal said.

Melissa Casstevens of the Yadkin County Domestic Violence program said the organization offers support in a variety of ways to those experiencing or who have experienced domestic violence.

Casstevens said there is a 24/7 crisis line that victims may call for non-emergency assistance.

“We have an advocate who is always available to answer calls and help someone figure out the best and safest way to get out of that situation,” she said.

Most of all, Casstevens said she wanted victims of abuse to know that there resources available for those who need help. The organization offers support with transportation, employment and much more for victims. There is also support by way of support groups and counseling for survivors.

The Yadkin County Domestic Violence 24/7 crisis line may be reached at 336-679-2072.

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.

A candlelight vigil is held in honor of Domestic Violence awareness month.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_IMG_8928_formatted.jpgA candlelight vigil is held in honor of Domestic Violence awareness month. Kitsey Burns Harrison | Yadkin Ripple

Survivors and supporters join together to honor the lives of domestic violence survivors.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_IMG_8929_formatted.jpgSurvivors and supporters join together to honor the lives of domestic violence survivors. Kitsey Burns Harrison | Yadkin Ripple

By Kitsey Burns Harrison

kburns@yadkinripple.com