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October 21--  One of the 95 people killed by domestic violence in Georgia last year was a Vidalia woman.

This is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the local domestic violence shelter, "The Refuge," remembered LaShanda January during its observance of the month.

refugemomThe observance was held in front of Shoney's in Vidalia where she was employed and her mother, Martha, said, "This is by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life.  I'm trying to think back on some of the good memories with LaShanda when she was growing up with her sisters and brother.  There were three things in my household you had to pay attention to.  That was to finish high school, to go to church and there was no such thing as 'you can't' because you can do anything you want to do," she said.  Overcome with emotion, she was unable to say more.

refugeballoonsThe group released 95 purple ballons in memory of each of this year's domestic violence victims and heard board chairperson Karen Brantly talk about the goals of "The Refuge."

"You know, we work together and we live in a great place, but none of us will be satisfied until we see domestic violence eradicated.  We are learning to live with it as an expected thing, but that's wrong.  Together we can find a solution to this.  That's why "The Refuge" was built here, because the numbers were so high that they atrtracted the attention of the governor at the time and he mandated we have one to serve Toombs and Emanuel counties and now we serve five counties.  Together we can and together we will and together, one day, we won't ever have another one of these.  I believe we can, do you?," she said.