‘Remember My Name’ vigil honors local victims and survivors of domestic violence

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - It could be happening to someone you know: They're being abused and are suffering in secrecy.

On Monday night, that silence was broken as domestic violence survivors shared their experiences to spark change.

"Seven years ago. March 6, 2012. I'll never forget it," said Lois Sparber.

That's the day that Sparber was nearly beaten to death at the hands of her husband.

"He had a gun. He didn't shoot me with it, but he took his steel-toed shoes and crushed my face."

She had to undergo multiple surgeries and has lost all feeling in the right side of her face.

Lois survived, but so many others don't, like Chandra Eason, who was killed in Newport News in August.

Or Jocelyn Frazier. She was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend outside of a nail salon. The violence forever haunting the community and begging the question, "Why did someone feel like they had the right to harm someone?"

Powerful in purple, survivors, friends and activists gathered looking to change the culture of silence.

In the annual Remember My Name Walk and Vigil, they created a safe space to ask for help and educate others.

In front of dozens of people, Sanu Dieng with Transitions asked, "What does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like for a victim?"

She said these are questions everyone should understand.

They are also things that the police department wants to know. Police Chief Steve Drew is setting up outreach programs and internal training because he said it's the one crime that has gone up from last year.

"If a victim is experiencing domestic violence, it doesn't matter male or female that they would talk to someone. Allow us to be there to help. I care about them; this department cares about them," he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in three women and one in seven men have experienced a serious physical assault from an intimate partner. Domestic violence is the number one leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15-44 in the United States - more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

At the event, organizers paid special tribute to victims from Hampton and Newport News who lost their lives to domestic violence in 2018 and 2019. The event is geared towards engaging, educating and inspiring community members to help end domestic violence in Hampton Roads.

If you or someone you know is in trouble, here are some resources:

Transitions Family Violence Services 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 757-723-7774
Center for Sexual Assault Survivors: 757-599-9844
Hampton Victim Witness: 757-726-6978
Newport News Victim Witness: 757-926-7443
York/Poquoson Victim Witness: 757-890-3402
Fear 2 Freedom: 888-453-3059
LGBT Life Center: 757-640-0929

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