"No more - say it, share it, show it."
That was the message sent Monday night at the YWCA of Northcentral Pennsylvania, where a vigil was held to honor the memory of victims of domestic violence and raise awareness of Domestic Violence Month, held every October.
In the YWCA's brightly colored rotunda, a table was set with 12 places, one for every person killed by domestic violence in Lycoming County since 1996.
Doreen Decker, of South Williamsport, left, and Joanne Kay, of Williamsport, look over a collage of photographs of a domestic abuse victim during a vigil for victims and a celebration of survivors of domestic abuse at the YWCA Monday.
Family and friends of domestic abuse victims release balloons during a vigil for victims and a celebration of survivors at the YWCA Monday.
Cherilyn Kephart, killed by her boyfriend in Hepburn Township last February, was the latest victim of domestic violence here. She had come before county Judge Joy McCoy to request a protection from abuse order a few months before her death.
"I hoped I'd never be personally involved again with someone
killed by domestic violence," McCoy said in her remarks - a client of hers had been killed in a murder-suicide in 2007. "The court alone cannot stop domestic violence and sexual assault. The 'No More' campaign directs us as members of the community to say it."
So far in 2013, the court has issued 138 final protection from abuse orders and 33 findings of contempt to those who haven't followed the court's order to stay away, McCoy said.
"Domestic violence is happening in our community. These numbers only reflect the reported abuse," she said.
The sister of one of the victims read a statement: "Remember that love is patient, love is kind and, most importantly, does not hurt. It's been 17 years and I still can't come to this and not cry."
Linda Loehr is a nurse-midwife who knew one victim, and knew that she was being abused before her death.
"I was heartbroken to know she didn't do anything about it," Loehr said. "If you're in an abusive relationship, get out. You know someone who will help."
Vanessa Hunter, program director at YWCA Wise Options, which provides assistance to victims of domestic violence, reminded everyone in attendance that help always is available.
"Wise Options is open 24/7," Hunter said. "You're going to get a live person to talk to. We're on Christmas, we're here on New Year's Eve at midnight."
After the candles were lit and remembrances given, everyone went outside to release 12 purple balloons into the air - one for every known victim of domestic violence here.
The Wise Options crisis hotline is available all day, every day at 570-323-8167.