PEORIA, Ariz. - February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and in Peoria, wooden, orange-colored silhouettes now stand to tell the stories of young men and women who lost their lives due to domestic violence.
On display are six silhouettes, representing just a fraction of victims. The goal is to tell people that domestic violence is preventable, and there are resources out there to help.
"With the silhouettes that you see behind me, they are real people. They represent real people, and they're only going to touch someone by that visual," said Sabrina Anderson.
Anderson's daughter, Faith Villanueva, was killed in a murder-suicide in 2019 by her ex-boyfriend.
"It brought emotion to me, seeing that this is just a small number of individuals that lives have been taken to domestic violence," said Anderson.
Bloom 365 a non-profit organization partnered with the national Silent Witness program to share the message of relationship violence, and the impact it has on not just victims, but the community and families.
The focus is on victims between the ages of 13 and 24.
"Those are the ages that we primarily educate and serve and support, and they're not being told and they're dying too, not just older people but young people and teens, so we looked up the Silent Witness initiative and realized this was an opportunity to tell these stories through these wooden silhouettes in a way that hasn't been told," said Bloom 365 Founder and CEO Donna Bartos.
Between 2008 and 2018, there were 1,192 domestic violence-related deaths in Arizona. 167 were victims were under the age of 18, and 60 were 24 years old and younger.
"We don't want to exploit families who have experienced this, but we know that there is power in these stories, and there's power in making sure that their lives were not forgotten, and we remember them the way their families would like to be remembered," said Bartos.
The displays will be up until Feb. 27 at Centennial Plaza in Peoria. A virtual event will also be held to honor the victims.
For domestic violence resources, visit this link https://www.thehotline.org/
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