Community members walk in solidarity with domestic violence survivors

Published 12:01 am Thursday, October 27, 2022

By Spencer Dixon
For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — Family Crisis Council of Rowan and the Salisbury Police Department hosted the inaugural “Stand in Solidarity — DV Peace Walk” on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Community members carried signs created by Family Crisis Council staff and shelter clients with messages like “Your Voice is Powerful,” “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” and “I’m not a Victim, I’m a Survivor.”

Leaving from the First Presbyterian Church’s courtyard, the crowd of 35 walked to Innes Street, up to Main Street and then down Main Street to Fisher Street before heading back to First Presbyterian.

Before the walk began, Christina Rary, executive director of Family Crisis Council of Rowan, said: “Take a moment, and look around. You could be anywhere today, but you chose to be here…You made a choice to stand in solidarity for survivors of domestic violence in our community. You made a choice to walk in solidarity for survivors of domestic violence, for those who broke cycles of violence and for those who may still be suffering in silence.”

She concluded by highlighting the over 700 survivors served by Family Crisis Council of Rowan’s emergency shelter, court advocacy and mental health services in the last year and a call to action for the walk: “As a community, we can continue working together to raise awareness and educate ourselves on how to best support Rowan’s residents who are experiencing domestic violence.”

Shelter Director Kim Fowler spoke of the services provided in the shelter, her experience working from a shelter advocate to the director in 11 years with the agency and her journey as a survivor. Dr. Alberta McLaughlin, victim witness advocate with the Salisbury Police Department, spoke next sharing a message of empowerment for survivors and her role in supporting survivors.

As the walk began, attendees shared on their purpose and mission for attending the walk. While discussing, everyone found a single common thread: to support survivors of domestic violence, not just that day but beyond. Whether it was Rev. Laura Musser Gritter who said, “I came to the walk to support the important work of Family Crisis Council. As a local pastor, the work I do is intimately bound up with the work of Family Crisis Council advocating for survivors of domestic violence both inside and beyond my congregation.” Or Lisa Wood, a teacher, who came to show support for children of survivors and learn more about how to help those students and families. Attendees shared how providing support for survivors, those who have left abusers and those still suffering in silence, is essential in building a stronger, more loving community.

The entire event was summed up by an attendee who wished to stay anonymous: “I am a survivor and I want others to know that they are not alone. There is a whole community behind them and here to support them in their journey.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, call Family Crisis Council of Rowan’s 24-hour emergency crisis line at 704-636-4718 then press 1.