WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - First Step, Inc. had its 16th annual Candlelight Vigil in honor of Domestic Awareness Month.
During the ceremony survivor turned advocate, June Meeks, shared her story in an effort to give other victims hope.
Meeks has been through several relationships where she experienced emotional and physical abuse.
“I've wanted to help other women try to pick up the pieces and try to get past the point of recovery, so they can thrive,” she said
At one point after experiencing sexual violence, Meeks' abuser went to prison, but not permanently.
Wichita falls Chief of Police Manuel Borrego says it is an all too common scenario that everyone should all be aware of. He added that the law is not enough on its own.
“This cannot be just a problem for law enforcement and the criminal justice system. That's very short term. It protects the victims for a very short time.”
So, Law enforcement in Texoma work closely with First Step to help bridge that gap and prevent more abuse that could possibly turn deadly.
Vernon Chief of Police Randy Agan said, “We incorporate it in our investigations to see if the victims of family violence need to talk to someone to begin the process of stopping that cycle of violence. It's helped a lot of people out of the situations that they're in when they think there's no other way out.”
Meeks said it was a long road to finding her own way out. So, she is encouraging other survivors never to give up hope and to be confident in taking the first step to recovery.
She shared her advice by saying, “Fortunately I have risen above every bit of it. I have survived, and I have thrived. I love life now and there’s a way to get there. Take one day at a time, take one breath at a time and, cry as much as you need to cry because that cleanses the soul. Cling onto God, He’s going to get you through it.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence call First Step’s 24-hour hotline: 1-800-658-2683
To Donate to First Step’s efforts to help victims visit their donation page here.