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In Case You Missed Our Listen with Your Heart Virtual Vigil

By: Sarah Mattea Lane, Life Together Fellow

We were so happy to see those who came to our Listen with Your Heart Virtual Vigil, on Thursday, October 27th. Because we want this vigil to be an experience of transformative listening for as many people as possible, we will be including a recording of our vigil in this blog post and on the homepage of our website. So, if you missed attending our vigil in person, do not fret, because you can watch it now.


Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and 2 people are killed by an intimate partner EVERY DAY. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Tragically, women of color are disproportionately affected by abuse. More than 40% of Black women, compared to 31.5% of all women, will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research’s Status of Black Women in the United States. And, in a stark example of racism in action, Black women are 2.5 times more likely to be murdered by a male intimate partner than white women.

During Covid, the abuse got worse. Victims have been trapped in their homes with the abuser, and with even fewer opportunities to reach out for help. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, injuries consistent with domestic abuse more than doubled. (Time, study in the journal Radiology).

This is part of why in 2020 we started the tradition of hosting our own vigil virtually, and we have had the opportunity to continue this annually. Vigils are an amazing space to raise awareness and I particularly appreciate vigils as a space for communal mourning and as a call for collective action.

We have been told time and time again how transformative the act of listening can be for people experiencing abuse. So often survivors and victims are bullied, dismissed, and ignored— both by the person perpetrating abuse and by society at large. A courageous act of solidarity, love, and support is to listen with your heart.

Listening is not easy, in a world that tries to convince us that tragedy is normal. We have been taught that the way to survive is to be desensitized to the harm done in our own communities. We dedicate this vigil to the people who were killed by domestic violence in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since October 2021. We will not let them be forgotten. We also want to use this space to honor those who have survived abusive relationships and those that are still experiencing abuse. In this space of grief, anger, and despair, we encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to do whatever they need.

My ask for each individual viewing this recording is to practice the spiritual task of listening during the next hour or so. As we read poems and prayers, as we share stories, I encourage you to listen deeply.

Here is the recording of our third annual virtual vigil. We would love it if you could share it with loved ones who could not attend. The program can be found here.


Thank you to everyone who made this event possible:

  • Rev. Elizabeth Marshall Casasola

  • Aliya Khalidi

  • Elizabeth Schön Vainer

  • Rev. Alicia Velez Stewart

  • Julie Thermidor

  • Safe Havens’ Board

  • Safe Havens’ Staff

  • Sarah Mattea Lane

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