Candlelight vigil for domestic violence victims

Image 1 of 16

The named of nearly 100 victims of domestic violence were read aloud at a candlelight vigil held to honor and remember victims of domestic violence Tuesday night in Griffin.

In front of a large crowd, Tiffany Stossell told her story. She said she always defended her abusive husband of 14 years.

"He would hurt me, go to jail. I would take up for him. I would lie," said Stossell.

Stossell said she finally left when he directed his emotional rage at their 10-year-old daughter.

"He emotionally involved her, telling her some very horrible things and at that moment once she said that to her. Emotionally it just took everything from me and that's what gave me the strength," said Stossell.

She left with her life, others did not.

Nearly, 100 names of victims of domestic violence in Spalding, Pike, Upson, and Fayette counties were read aloud by members of law enforcement, who work closely with the Griffin Judicial Domestic Violence Task Force.

Audrey Holliday who heads up the task force, which sponsored the candlelight vigil, told the crowd about reaching her limits as a young victim of domestic abuse.

"And I went to my mother's room. She wasn't home and I got her .22 pistol out. And I was going to shoot my dad that morning," said Holliday.

Holliday, who is now a Fayette County Assistant Solicitor General, said silence is the enemy.

"There is so much that can be done if people will speak up and stop being silent about the issue and it's important to share the word and get people to be active," said Holliday.

Holliday said 75 percent of her caseloads are domestic violence cases which is why Holliday encourages victims to first call the police then call for help.

Ben Coker, the district attorney with the Griffin Judicial Circuit, said his office is not alone in tackling domestic violence.

"I would venture to say that the majority of DA's offices across the state have some program in place to tackle domestic violence programs," said Coker.

Sponsors of the candlelight vigil encourage victims of domestic abuse to reach out for help whether through family, friends, or church. They said it could be as simple as googling 'help for victims of domestic abuse' which leads to many resources.