HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a community here in western Massachusetts held a rally on Saturday to honor victims statewide.
Alianza in Holyoke helps women and children who are affected by domestic violence.
On Saturday, they held an event to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence in the past two years.
“We honor, remember this year 23 names who have died from domestic violence in the past two years,” said Alianza Domestic Violence Services Executive Director Carmen Nieves.
Community members take a stand against domestic violence on Saturday.
Alianza in Holyoke marked National Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a rally to honor and remember those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.
Nieves told Western Mass News they provide safe haven for women and children in abusive relationships seeking help.
“I have led support groups for survivors of domestic violence. One of our biggest programs is obviously our confidential shelter where we hide women and children who experience domestic violence and must be completely mistreated or are in danger of abuse, ”Nieves said.
She adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for victims and survivors to seek help.
“The pandemic did not cause it. It always happened. It exasperates him. But it was also who can I become, who can I call? There is no rest to go to work; there is no way my family or my family will come to see me. So it was a very isolating and controlling relationship, ”Nieves explained.
Part of the event paid tribute to Carol Rivest, a 22-year-old mother who suffered domestic violence.
Her sister came out as the founder of the Carol Rivest Memorial Foundation and to honor her memory.
“I wanted her face and name to be someone who has changed and not just a statistic, a victim; there is more to Carol. Carol was strong, beautiful, very caring, loved her family, she had that nerve and spark that we all loved in our 22 year old siblings, nieces, friends. She was our family, ”Rivest said.
She hopes more changes will come for those who are stuck in abusive relationships and struggling to cope like her sister was.
“They have come a long way with the laws, but the rate of domestic violence continues to rise, and there has to be a change. There has to be a change in the way people deal with rejection in a relationship or deal with that partner who no longer wants to be with you or how to handle, just everyday life, ”Rivest said.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, Alianza wants to help. For more information, visit their website.