YWCA Metro St. Louis to Host Candlelight Vigil Wednesday, October 19, 6 – 8pm
Congresswoman Cori Bush to speak
October 4, 2022/St. Louis, Missouri – As part of YWCA’s national Week Without Violence initiative, YWCA Metro St. Louis will host a candlelight vigil at its headquarters in Olivette on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 6 pm to honor survivors and victims of domestic violence. Congresswoman Cori Bush, who is a survivor of sexual and domestic violence, will be guest speaker.
Since 1995, YWCAs across the country and their supporters have assembled during the third week of October for a Week Without Violence, a global movement in partnership with World YWCA to end violence against women and girls. YWCA Metro St. Louis will host a candlelight vigil to celebrate survivors and remember victims of domestic violence while empowering members of our community to live violence-free lives.
“YWCA Metro St. Louis was founded in 1904 to provide safe housing for women traveling to work at the World’s Fair. Our services are rooted in safety, and safety remains a primary focus of what we do today,” said Dr. Cheryl Watkins, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer. “YWCA recognizes the intersections of violence and barriers to seeking services, and our agency is uniquely positioned to provide holistic services to survivors to meet their physical, emotional, and economic needs with housing, therapy, employment, and other wraparound services.”
“YWCA provides lifesaving resources for our community by helping to connect youth, women, and victims of abuse with the services they need to be safe and heal after violent encounters,” said Congresswoman Bush. “As a survivor who is still on my own healing journey, I am honored to recognize, share space, and stand alongside victims and survivors of violence at the Candlelight Vigil hosted by YWCA Metro St. Louis on October 19, and I will continue to work in Congress to prioritize and fund community-based violence prevention programs like those offered by YWCA — and save lives.”
According to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, 8,260 individuals received domestic violence services in the St. Louis region in 2021; of those, 56 percent were Black/African American, and 27 percent were White/Caucasian. Domestic violence survivors in the St. Louis region included 6,345 women, 1,031 children, 504 men and 380 unspecified. More than half the adults served were ages 25 – 45, and 76 percent of the children were ages 12 and younger.
“The statistics are daunting, but every year we can help more people than we did the year before, thanks to the generosity of our grantees and donors. On October 19, we will honor those taken from us, and we will celebrate those who benefited from our action and our advocacy and are now living in safety,” added Watkins.
YWCA is the only agency in the St. Louis region providing services for both sexual assault and domestic violence. The agency staffs a 24/7 Crisis Help Line (314-531-7273) and a Drop-in Center. Additionally, it dispatches a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) to area hospitals and police departments to assist victims – St. Louis boasts the only YWCA in the U.S. with a SART. YWCA Metro St. Louis also is the largest provider of rapid rehousing for victims of violence in St. Louis city and county. There are no fees for crisis services provided by YWCA.