By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – An October nor’easter brought rain to Shrewsbury on Oct. 16 forcing the ninth annual ADVISE (Against Domestic Violence in Shrewsbury Education project) vigil to be moved from the Town Common to the warmth of the First Congregational Church.
Julie Nason, chair of ADVISE, welcomed the intimate gathering of about two dozen who included residents, first responders and dignitaries including Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury,) Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr., and Board of Selectmen Chair Maurice DePalo.
“The goal of tonight’s gathering is to increase education and awareness around domestic violence and help people to understand that they can do something about it personally,” Nason remarked.
The short program included a poignant “Moment of Witness,” presented by ADVISE members Dee Jenkins, Joanne Tyndall, Janet Trippi and Michael Tozeski who each read names of those victims lost in the past year.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito serves as the chair of the state’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Council.
“This year I want to ask you to take on an initiative that is really important around prevention and awareness. The campaign is called ‘Respectfully.’ We were able to obtain $1.5 million dollars of resource from the state legislature to begin to develop and now promote a social media youth informed and empowered campaign around healthy friendships and healthy relationships,” Polito said. “We feel this is very important initiative because it is empowerment and it is social media which is where teens are spending a lot of their time sharing information – the good, the bad and the ugly.”
When was asked if any progress had been made since last year, Nason said, “No, not really. The numbers are about the same year to year and even though the ADVISE organization has been working to end domestic violence it’s been 29 years that they’ve been working in the community and still it remains as pervasive as ever.”