Susie Kensil, the Shelby County coordinator of Dove, Inc. referred to domestic abuse as a global pandemic that reaches into Shelbyville. She made the remarks at the 19th Annual Shelby County Candlelighting Ceremony on Thursday at First Assembly of God Church in Shelbyville.

Kensil highlighted the worldwide problem of failing to recognize the equality and respect of women. She cited that 82% of fatal victims of domestic violence are women.

Kensil also stated that loneliness and isolation is one of the worst feeling of victims of domestic violence. She countered the argument, ‘Why doesn’t she just leave” another question, “Why don’t we hold him accountable?”

Members of the Shelby County CADV lit candles.

Orla Ferguson, lit a candle for all the victims of domestic violence. Loretta Agney lit a candle for survivors of domestic violence. Jeannie Pryer lit a candle specifically for the latest Shelby County victim of domestic violence, Samantha Cushing and her unborn child who were both killed on July 8 of this year in the heart of Shelbyville. Her family was in attendance at the ceremony.

After a song by Sarah McLachlan, “Angel,” Brittany Reynolds read a poem, The Black Velvet Glove. Angela Stephens read “Shelter of Hope,” written by a domestic violence survivor. A song by Sara Evans, “A Little Bit Stronger,” followed.

Kensil then was pleased to award several community awards for those who have contributed to the awareness and needs of those affected by domestic violence.

Community partners of Dove were honored. “The Possum Lodge” barbecue cooks were cited for their willingness to provide food service for fundraisers.

Shelbyville Daily Union reporter John Curtis was cited for his newspaper articles over the years, shining a light on domestic violence, providing education and awareness.

Mindy Mars of the Salvation Army and from Joanna’s House was cited for her work on the board and how she cheerfully spread the Word of God.

Attorney Mike Frazier was cited for his legal advocacy for victims. “Dove lights a candle every day for domestic violence victims,” Frazier said. “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn. They turn less slowly and in the right direction thanks to Dove.”

The Rev. Don Jefferies, pastopr of 1st Assembly of God, was also cited for his partnership in the fight and for the church’s benevolence fund and ministries that stand ready to help and for their respectful treatment of victims.

“Thank You for being a Friend” by Andrew Gold was played, then Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time as participants lit their individual candles and let them light up the night.

Jefferies closed with a benediction and invited attenders to stay for light refreshments and fellowship.

John Curtis can be reached at

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