OASIS holds vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Sarah Brittain

Mayor Tim Futrelle speaking at the OASIS vigil for domestic violence survivors and victims Oct. 25.

Sarah Brittain, Reporter

OASIS held a vigil to shine a light for victims and survivors of intimate partner violence at the Jones House Oct. 25. 

As a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Sara Crouch, the director of community programs for OASIS, organized the event to reduce the stigma around intimate partner violence and to raise awareness about the services OASIS provides.

 The campaign theme for this year’s DVAM is “OASIS is not just a women’s shelter,” Crouch said, and that it “provides comprehensive services for survivors of all identities.” 

“Intimate partner violence is something that, unfortunately, is incredibly far-reaching in all of our communities,” Crouch said. “And when we raise awareness about the issue, we reduce the stigma because then people realize ‘I’m not alone, and it’s not my fault.’”

Attendees were encouraged to write on strips of fabric before, during and after the event. The fabric pieces were hung for people to write “messages of hope, grief, support or compassion for those in their life or even themselves who have experienced intimate partner violence,” Crouch said.

Strips of fabric with messages from attendees hanging outside the Jones House. (Sarah Brittain)

These messages will be kept up at the Jones House for public viewing. 

Dana Cole, a single mother and survivor of domestic violence, attended the vigil to “feel supported.”

Cole said she is happy OASIS is addressing partner violence because “it lives in the dark and people are taught not to speak about it,” and that “people experiencing this don’t get to tell their stories, and sometimes people don’t make it out alive.” 

Crouch began the event with a story about her experience with intimate partner violence, what drew her to the work and what has kept her at OASIS. 

Crouch talked about how witnessing domestic violence as a child made her statistically more likely to experience intimate partner violence or to enact intimate partner violence. Despite this, she said she is “not a statistic,” but a “cycle breaker.”

 “There are times of light, and there are times of shadow and we have to be able to hold them both in our experiences and our community,” Crouch said. 

Mary McKinney, a marriage and family therapist with McKinney Marriage and Family Therapy, took the stage. McKinney recited her speech titled “A Nagging Suspicion of Hope.” 

“I believe in the power of storytelling to shed our stigma and to offer hope,” McKinney said. 

Mayor Tim Futrelle was the last to speak at the event. 

“It’s so important for us as a community to show that we are allies for those who have suffered,” Futrelle said. 

Futrelle later spoke about those who “need to stand up with” victims of intimate partner violence. 

“Those who hold office or those who hold influence are the ones that can help in realizing that we are the ones that construct the support for the survivors in our community,” Futrelle said. 

His statements ended with a moment of silence and a candle lighting “in honor of those who have come before us and who still stand before us and survived with courage and strength,” Futrelle said. 

Katie Drulard, a senior social work major at the university, worked at the event as a volunteer with OASIS.  

Drulard encourages students at App State to reach out to OASIS. 

“I think a lot of college students think OASIS is a resource for adult women or people out of college,” Drulard said. “It’s not, we offer a lot of resources for college students as well, too which I think is important to talk about.” 

Drulard is “excited” to work with OASIS who hosts events to raise awareness with and for the Boone community.

“Things like this where we can partner with our community, I feel like that’s very important. It’s a great thing that Boone loves OASIS as much as we love Boone,” Drulard said. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, please reach out to the following resources: OASIS (828) 264-1532), the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-787-3224), the Watauga 24/7 Crisis Line (828-262-5035) and the Spanish Crisis Line (828-504-0800).