Westport residents gathered at Earthplace Tuesday afternoon to partake in the “Healing Wings of Hope” ceremony. Participants each made a donation to take part in releasing 88 butterflies. The money raised will benefit the Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk.
According to Elizabeth Marks Juviler, the Chairperson of the Domestic Violence Task Force, “we want to raise awareness and do so in an event that is uplifting. Releasing butterflies is uplifting, it symbolizes new beginnings and freedom.”
The 88 butterflies represent the amount of domestic violence calls the Westport police handled last year. According to the State Police Annual Report, Westport had the fourth lowest arrest rate in Connecticut for domestic violence incidents in 2012, at 1.69 arrests per 1,000 residents. However, Juviler is quick to point out that “although the number in Westport has been going down in the past 5-6 years, we only have data from the instances that were called in and I think there are actually many more.”
During the ceremony, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff proclaimed October "Domestic Violence Awareness Month" in Westport. Joseloff said "we must encourage all that are involved to seek the available help and only a coordinated community effort can stop this heinous crime."
Expanding education efforts with children and young adults can go a long way, said Juviler. Westport resident Medha Thomas released a butterfly with her young son, noting that she wants “to show him that even after being in captivity a butterfly can flourish, once they are given that freedom.”
Westport residents Keith and Tina Roche attended the ceremony together; “it’s a great cause and we want to show that it can happen to both women and men,” said Keith.
Image Gallery: Healing Wings of Hope
The Domestic Violence Crisis Center of Norwalk will host a “Denim & Diamonds” fundraising event on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 7:30pm at Hotel Zero in Norwalk. For more information or to donate to the DVCC contact Laura Campbell at (203) 588-9100 or visit www.dvccct.org.