Candlelight vigil sends short, but powerful message to stop abuse

Candlelight vigil sends short, but powerful message to stop abuse

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It was an emotional gathering Thursday night in Ocean Springs.

Supporters, friends and family members of abuse victims came together in a brief but powerful ceremony at Fort Maurepas coordinated by Women Against Violence Everywhere.

"We're here to remember the ones that were killed," Robin Cooley of WAVE told the crowd. "And we're here to offer support to the ones who made it through."

Joseph Holcomb's sister was one of the ones who didn't make it.

Kimberly Holcomb Watts was murdered Nov. 10, 2014, the same month that the organization, Women Against Violence Everywhere, began.

There has still been no arrest in the case. He's here to lend support, and to receive it. WAVE has helped.

"There's not any organizations on the Coast that I'm aware of that allows family members to get together and talk and help with the grieving process," he said. "It helps knowing that there are other people probably in the same situation that we are."

The event also attracted family members and supporters of the woman attacked at an Ocean Springs apartment complex just days ago.

"I've dealt with grief myself and I want to try to help them through the process as well," said Terry Armstrong of Ocean Springs. "And if there's anything I can do that's a positive influence to them I want to do that."

Recent attacks haunt Heather Denison, co-founder of WAVE.

"Anger, fear, confusion. It's heartbreaking. It's sad," she said. "You can't believe that happens in your community."

Gina McKnight with the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence said one in four women will be victims of domestic violence in the lifetimes, and one in three will experience sexual assault.

Cooley said that while modern media has brought the issue to the forefront, the problem is still pervasive.

"I think in today's world, we hear about things so much more rapidly," she said. "But I think in this situation you have to remember that in every case you hear about  there are several that you never know about."

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.