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Leaders mark start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month with candlelight ceremony

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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Domestic Violence Council marked the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by gathering for a candlelight ceremony in memory of 18 victims who died in 2018 due to violent relationships at the hands of their partners.

Leaders from across the county gathered in solidarity alongside 30 domestic violence organizations and encouraged victims to speak out about potentially fatal relationships. Tuesday's meeting at the San Diego Central Library was a way for victims to understand that there are people standing by ready to help.

Experts from the council say violent relationships rarely ever get better, but oftentimes get worse. Abusers often attempt "to isolate victims so that they feel alone, they're disconnected from their families from their friends so that they can fully control them,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said.

“The best thing you can do is say something. You’re not alone," said Kelsey Hamlet, a survivor whose mother was killed by an ex-boyfriend when the current law student was 11 years old. "Other people have been there. If you are somebody who is going through the loss of a loved one due to domestic violence, reach out. There is a tremendous amount of support in San Diego County to help you get through it. You are not alone."

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