Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard and Connect to End Violence are set to strengthen their partnership with a collaboration that begins May 1. Call volume for domestic violence and rape counseling was up on the Island this winter.
They stood 21 strong, their backs to the harbor, shirts billowing in the sea breeze, cheered on by honking cars, applause and exclamations of gratitude. Their messages, plastered to their chests by a gusty wind off the Vineyard Haven harbor, were names of individuals and groups of women they wished to honor in the fight against domestic violence.
They were fathers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, Islanders and visitors, standing vigil Saturday afternoon on the Vineyard Haven seawall in support of local victims of domestic violence.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, Connect will hold its fifth annual domestic and sexual violence awareness walk. The walk begins at the Edgartown Park and Ride and continues for approximately two miles through Edgartown, along the “parade route.”
Registration for the event begins at 10 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m.
A line of men holding signs and standing on the seawall along Vineyard Haven harbor Saturday prompted motorists to slow down, wave and honk their horns in support of the group’s message: end domestic and sexual violence.
Among those on the wall near the drawbridge landing were several police officers, including Oak Bluffs chief Erik Blake and West Tisbury chief Dan Rossi, as part a four-hour Sea Wall Stand meant to enlist men in anti-violence efforts.
Connect to End Violence is holding its first annual domestic and sexual violence awareness walk on Sunday, Oct. 26. Registration will begin at the Edgartown Park and Ride lot behind Edgartown Pizza at 9 a.m. The route is approximately two miles through downtown Edgartown. Registration costs $20 per adult; children under 14 are free. The first 100 walkers to arrive will receive a free T-shirt. For details call 508-693-7900, extension 221.
Since Carrie White joined Connect — formerly known as Women’s Support Services — last fall, her focus has been on reducing the client base. “We’re trying to get out there to help change the social norms,” said Ms. White who since coming on as program director has made one full-time hire for preventive work and is cross training the rest of the agency’s five staff to work both with prevention and support. The agency has been working with victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault on the Island for over 20 years.