HPD hosts candlelight vigil for victims of domestic violence

HPD hosts candlelight vigil for victims of domestic violence
Source: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Police Department hosted a candlelight vigil for victims of domestic violence Tuesday evening.

The vigil was one of seeveral events hosted by the department's Victim Services Unit and the City of Hattiesburg during the month of October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"It's a problem we se frequently in Hattiesburg," said HPD Lt. Latosha Myers Mitchell.  "If we think about it, in everyone's home, domestic violence effects them in some kind of way, directly or indirectly."

The event included a poem, songs and the story of one survivor, Lawanda Spann.

Spann is a records clerk for the Hattiesburg Police Department.  She said she was not only in one, but two abusive relationships.

"I remember, vividly, thinking back laying on the floor one night. With my head going all which ways from being hit, a blow to the head," said Spann.  "God saw fit that I made it, I'm able to walk out a survivor and I just thank God for that."

Spann said she shares her story to give other victims hope that there is a way out.

"Seek help, walk away, realize who you are. You are someone special," said Spann.  "Love doesn't hurt, love is not taking your fist hitting you in the face, eye, wherever. Love is more kinder than that."

Lt. Myers Mitchell said HPD's Victims Services Unit offers resources to anyone who may be in a dangerous situation.

"We have detectives, we have two victims advocates that will walk a person through court," said Lt. Myers Mitchell.  "We also partner with the domestic abuse family shelter that offers immediate shelter and other services that offer counseling that we partner with."

HPD is hosting another event next week on Thursday, October 19, 2017.  The "Pride in Our Stride" Walk starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center.  There will be a self-defense class following the walk.