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Domestic violence, terror attacks compared

October 12, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer
  • Priscilla Dominguez, 7, of Brawley watches her candle flicker during a domestic violence vigil Thursday in El Centro's Bucklin Park. DON THOMPSON PHOTO
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The smiling faces of children and their parents were stark contrasts to the grim subject of domestic violence, the victims of which were honored in a candlelight vigil at El Centro's Bucklin Park on Thursday.

Families and individuals gathered for a carne asada dinner and speeches to pay tribute to victims of domestic violence and to celebrate survivors of the abuse.

The fourth annual vigil was hosted by the Center for Family Solutions of Imperial Valley.

Imperial County Superior Court Judge Donal Donnelly compared the experience of domestic violence to the experience of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States. Victims of both crimes, Donnelly said, experience a variety of emotions ranging from fear and sadness to anger and frustration.

"Later, with wisdom and God's guidance, you move on," he told the crowd.

"We're able to share with the country how important love and family become in our lives," Donnelly said.

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Though strong breezes threatened to blow out the candles that softly illuminated the vigil, many flames flickered but remained burning.

Domestic violence survivor Sofia Martinez has found her inner flame burns brighter now than when she first came to WomanHaven (now the Center for Family Solutions) with her infant child as a teen-ager escaping domestic violence. Martinez told the audience that she has managed to support herself and her child and graduate from high school, all while recovering from domestic violence.

"We are strong. We can do it," she said, passion in her voice. Mario Dominguez, a former participant in the center's anger-management program, spoke in Spanish about having perpetrated domestic violence on his family in the past.

Through an English interpreter, Dominguez told of his initial embarrassment at entering the anger-management program, but the sessions helped him understand himself and why he did what he did. Dominguez said he learned to refocus his energy into something positive and is grateful for the tools to change his life.

Neither Dominguez nor Martinez went into detail about the abuse they perpetrated and experienced, respectively. Instead, the vigil served as a forum to celebrate life after domestic violence.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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