Pam Guedry-Lee compared domestic abuse to a stone tossed into a bayou. Like the rock, domestic violence creates a ripple effect, she said.
“Domestic violence impacts our children, friends, family and co-workers,” Guedry-Lee said to attendees who gathered in Raceland last Thursday night in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, The Haven, the Lafourche District Attorney’s Office and PACT Place Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchange Center hosted the event.
The annual vigil honors those who have experienced domestic violence and seeks to provide hope to those who are still suffering from it.
Guedry-Lee, the PACT Place coordinator, said a child growing up in a home with an abusive father is statistically more likely to become an abuser as well.
“That is the ripple effect of domestic violence,” she said.
Just in 2018 alone, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office answered 1,555 domestic violence-related calls, officials said. There were also 364 protective orders issued for victims last year in the parish.
However, hope is far from lost, Sheriff Craig Webre said.
The sheriff told attendees that his office is combating domestic abuse by providing resources for victims and holding perpetrators accountable.
“I stand before you tonight confident, hopeful and committed,” Webre said. “I’m confident that we as a criminal justice system have made great strides in preventing domestic violence and holding offenders accountable and protecting the victims. I’m hopeful that we will continue to fight this uphill battle so that we can build upon the foundation and success and one day eradicate domestic violence.”
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to do everything in its power to make domestic abuse a relic of the past, Webre said.
Angie Pitre Pellegrin, dean of Student Services at Fletcher Technical Community College, revealed she was also a victim of domestic violence.
“I once showed up to my family with an arm that was purple, blue and awful-looking,” Pellegrin said. “Nobody said a word. I remember feeling so invisible. I have no anger or resentment toward the person who picked me up by the arm and tossed me across the parking lot because anger and resentment are like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Pellegrin said her family endured domestic violence in silence for three generations but the cycle has since been broken. She chose to empower her life with education and also works as a licensed professional counselor.
“The wave of my life is for love, success, service and joy,” she said. “I study human development and the service of happiness and have a daily practice that keeps me in peace.”
Pellegrin encouraged audience members to take that moment in time and turn it into a “wave of change.”
“Let the silence surrounding domestic violence become a roaring wave of advocacy, speaking out and changing the paradigm,” she said.
-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 446-7639 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.