With this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week theme of “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities,” Freedom House hosted its 25th Annual Butterfly Vigil Supporting Victims of Crime at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center this week.
Freedom House, based out of Weatherford, is a crisis intervention center that helps survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The nonprofit does a vigil every year to honor the survivors and their families, and to recognize law enforcement officers and all those who help try to stop domestic violence, sexual assault and any crime against their person, Freedom House Advocate Debbie Buckman said.
Parker County Attorney John Forrest spoke about the importance of community support of victims at the vigil.
“People ask why they don’t just leave,” Forrest explained. “We experience that daily with someone coming in needing a protective order or someone coming in and needing a case filed against a spouse. It can be any type of abuse. We have to be aware and report this. If you are a friend, you have to report it.”
Even with the number decreasing, many are still repeat victims. Forrest touched on the topic about why victims don’t typically leave their abusers after the first time.
“They either don’t have a job or they dropped out of high school. They have kids or they don’t have transportation,” he said. “They will come in the first time [at my office] and ask for help and then will leave and they don’t follow through. Spouses tell them they are worthless and can’t get another job. When you have that type of situation with a victim, you can’t get mad at them for going back.
“When they come in, we give them that support and get behind them and make them understand that [my office] will be there to have their back.”
For additional information about how to assist victims in your own community, contact the Parker County Attorney’s Office at 817-594-8409. For more information on Freedom House, visit freedomhousepc.org/ or call 817-596-7543.