Dozens of candles lit Storke Plaza last night in opposition of domestic violence.
Approximately 100 people walked from Greek Park to Storke Plaza for a candlelight vigil, sponsored by Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
Louanne Paulius, UCSB Women’s Studies Program manager, said approximately 1.8 million – 25 percent of all women in the U.S. – are victims of domestic violence each year, enough to fill the UCSB Events Center five times over.
“Make a commitment to take care of yourself and others and to seek assistance if you need it. The main resource we have is each other … there is no reason, rhyme and no excuse for domestic violence,” she said.
Women between 20 and 24 years old who are unmarried and living in urban environments are most at risk, Paulius said.
“Domestic violence is a cycle that is passed on generation to generation,” she said. “No one deserves to be hurt; if they are unsafe [others need] do something about it. Batterers are hard to recognize because they seem very normal, and sometimes overly charming and attentive.”
Meghan Miller, Alpha Chi Omega vice president chair, said the sorority organized the event because it felt domestic violence should be addressed by the campus community.
“Within the Greek community we are afforded to make a visual statement. We are always under scrutiny and it’s important to us to take an initiative in the image we portray and to educate and bring awareness to others,” she said.
Miller said people should recognize the prevalence of domestic violence.
“As an all-women’s association this is a highly visible stance against domestic violence. It is easy to remove ourselves from domestic violence and think it only happens to other people, when it really can happen to anyone,” she said.
Suzanne Wilson, a transfer student from UC Irvine, said victims of domestic violence should know they are not at fault.
“It’s important to show people support. I myself learned so much from the last vigil I attended where people spoke of their personal experience; it was very powerful,” she said. “So many people today are more aware now than before, when it was a lot more hidden because it’s a really personal and traumatizing experience and no matter what the situation, the victim feels guilty.”
“This lets others know it’s OK and that they’re not alone,” she said, “because pretty much everyone knows someone who has been a victim of domestic violence.”