Story by: Arielle Cadet

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21)- Women and their families gathered Thursday, for a candlelight vigil to remember those who were killed by domestic violence.

The event was held by Chat Room, a support group in Fort Wayne for victims of domestic violence. The group’s founder, Delia Thompson said an environment like this helps women heal from their trauma.

“Women come and they tell horrific stories about their lives and in some way, it helps them to heal and move on, believe it or not and I’ve heard some horrible stories but it’s become like a sisterhood, it’s a beautiful thing for women to share with each other,” Thompson said.

A survivor of domestic violence, Leoanny Pulido said it took her a while to find the strength to leave the situation she was in, but now she uses that strength to encourage other women.

“Once you realize who you are and there’s other possibilities, you are able to get out, it just takes a lot of strength, it takes a lot of determination and it just takes a decision.” Pulido said.

Pulido said she first experienced domestic violence as a child, when her father abused her mother.

“[My mother] would believe in her mind that she had to stay with this man, because of what people will say, because she was going to hurt the family or someone was going to look down on her, and those are lies,” Pulido said.

She was then abused by her first husband and in her second marriage, her husband abused her children. Pulido said through all of the trauma, she was able to find the courage to leave.

“Once I established a personal relationship with God,and he showed me that I was worthy of who I am in Him, that’s when a light bulb just came in, and I said, ‘You know I’m worth more than this, my children are worth more than this, I need to get out it’s a necessity’,” Pulido said.

At the vigil, Thursday Pulido and other women shared their stories. Thompson said this environment helps hold abuses accountable.

“It’s very important that we take action, it’s very important that we don’t stay quiet about these things, because the more we stay quiet the more we’re telling the abuser, ‘It’s okay, keep doing what you’re doing’,” Thompson said.

Pulido said she wants to be a resource for those who need support in their healing process or need the strength to leave.

“You may not think you have value to that person that’s hurting you but you have value to someone else, it could be a mom, it could be a father, it could be a neighbor or a best friend, you’re life really really matters.” Pulido said.

If you or someone else is experiencing domestic violence, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website

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