EL CENTRO – Hundreds marched down Main Street remembering victims, celebrating survivors and standing as a community to “End Violence” during the WomenHaven Center for Family Solution’s (CFS) 12th Annual March Against Domestic Violence, Wednesday evening.
The march began at the Imperial County Superior Courthouse steps and ended at the Town Square Park where over 500 men, women and children carried posters and chanted, “No Excuse For Abuse.”
Among those who marched were El Centro City Council Candidates Edgar Garcia, and Daniel Ochoa, representing Jason Jackson and Tomas Olivas.
“We are here in support of those who have been victims of spousal abuse and to let them know they are not alone,” said Marcela Torres, El Centro. “There are many women and men who are in abusive relationships and it’s time they understand that abuse is not love and that they must seek professional help before it’s too late.”
CFS promotes and provides a comprehensive response to domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking through community outreach & education, prevention, intervention, client support; and safety and shelter services.
“By far, today has definitely been one of our best events with a great turn-out. We are bringing awareness to men and women. Domestic violence doesn’t just affect women and men, it also affects children,” said De Angelo Singh, CFS, anger management director.
The programs offered incorporate state mandates for effective and efficient quality service in increasing awareness and decreasing the episodes of domestic violence in the communities of Imperial County.
“I was a victim of domestic violence for over 20 years until I decided enough was enough,” said Marveya Preciado. “No women should be beaten or mentally abused. I decided to leave my abusive spouse seven years ago. I am very happy I made that decision.”
“Domestic violence impacts women, men and children of all ages, background and belief. Merely one of 4 women and one of every 7 men in the U.S. have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Victims are deprived of their economy, liberty and security and face a tremendous threat to their health and safety,” said Gina Vargas, CFS Executive Director.
On behalf of Senator Ben Hueso, Hector Araujo, Field Respresentative presented CFS with a Certificate of Appreciation commending their hard work in helping the community.
“It is very touching to see people go to CFS with nowhere else to go, feeling helpless, and find there is hope, help and shelter,” said Araujo. “It’s about becoming a survivor.”
Furthermore, District Representative Rebecca Terrazas Baxter presented CFS with a Certificate of Recognition from Congressman Juan Vargas their hard work throughout the years.
“I commend you for your hard work and commitment to remembering the victims of domestic violence and to celebrating its survivors and for standing together to raise awareness, thank you for your contribution to our community,” said Baxter.
Purple balloons were released representing children who have been victims of domestic violence. The Central Union High School Spartan Marching Band gave a spectacular performance during the event.
Over 20 agencies displayed resource tables with pamphlets full of information and assistance programs for those who seek help.
CFS is a non-profit organization established in 1977 and has provided services in Imperial County for over 38 years. Services include emergency shelter, case management, counseling, legal advocacy, accompaniment, youth services, safety planning, staff is available 24-hours a day 7-days a week and all services are free and confidential.