Ceremony marks awareness of domestic violence

On Monday, Oct. 20, the day another high-profile domestic violence arrest was made — involving Los Angeles Kings hockey player Slava Voynov — Wilton officials held a ceremony at town hall observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Before a small crowd of onlookers, consisting mostly of police officers, officials and volunteers, First Selectman Bill Brennan read a proclamation that outlined the ills begotten by such offenses.

“Domestic violence violates an individual’s privacy and dignity, security and humanity,” he read.

Domestic violence is “not confined to any group or groups of people, but cuts across all economic, racial and societal barriers.”

The proclamation acknowledged that “it is battered women themselves who have been in the forefront of efforts to bring peace and equality to the home.”

“This is a big problem,” Mr. Brennan said. “We are trying to make sure everyone gets the message. … We are trying to control it in our own community.”

Wilton police Officer Robert Cipolla said domestic violence calls in Wilton have remained steady over the past several years. Members of the Domestic Violence Task Force and Wilton High School’s PeaceWorks program hung 88 ribbons in Wilton Center this month, one for each call from January to the present.

Deputy Chief Robert Crosby said the police department averages 10 to 11 incidents a month, but he suspects many more are unreported.

State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) said “as horrible as it is” the publicity surrounding NFL players accused of domestic violence “has brought awareness” to the problem.

“We need to do more so the victims don’t feel victimized,” he said.

His colleague, state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), said, “It’s very important for folks going through this to know they aren’t the only ones.

“I do want to compliment the wonderful work [Domestic Violence Task Force Chair] Jennifer McNamara and [task force volunteer] Barbara Holdridge have done and continue to do.

“This is absolutely without politics,” she continued. “It is absolutely nonpartisan.”

Ms. Holdridge commended the work of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk and the PeaceWorks programs in school, and added, “If we can do nothing but deal with the problem of dating violence we can solve problems that won’t eventually come before the police.”