WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - Just days after a murder-suicide rocked the Derby community, dozens lit up the night in support of those affected by domestic violence in downtown Wichita.
"Love shouldn't hurt," says Melinda Perez. "It is time for us to live for ourselves you know because love should not hurt. It really shouldn't."
"I don't know how I got out of it. It is kind of a blur now," says Sophia Gomez.:
Thursday is what coming together is all about.
"Coming here, it is help," says Perez.
"It means a lot to help other people who are scared to come out," Gomez adds.
No matter what background you come from surviving is literally just that, surviving.
"It is the worst," Perez explains.
"Had I not smacked the gun out of my face, I would be dead," Gomez says.
For Perez this vigil is about bringing awareness to what she says is a forgotten form of abuse.
"I speak on a silent abuse that is not really spoken about and that is same sex abuse."
The light on the candles is much like the light at the end of the tunnel.
"We have been sent away 15 hours from here to San Marcos, Texas to be protected in a shelter. This is where we have found our home at to be safe. We are required to stay here to be safe and ended up coming to living here in Wichita," says Perez.
Her friend Gomez is lucky to be alive.
"I was shot in the chest and the arm," she explains.
Both have different backgrounds, as many of those who came tonight do. Despite the abuse, there is still one thing their abusers can not take from them.
"No matter what I came out on top I am still here," says Gomez.
"I was finally able to walk away," Perez adds.
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