Candlelight vigil sheds light on domestic violence

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

ARDMORE, OK - Texomans are familiar with the story of Ashleigh Lindsey who was shot by her ex-boyfriend Joshua Mahaffey in the summer of 2012. She and her unborn child were killed.

Her mother, Tara Woodlee, travels Texas and Oklahoma telling her daughter's story.

But woodlee has a story of her own.

"Ashleigh's biological father abused me, and I escaped that violence," said Woodlee. "But afterwards I was so afraid. I was very silent about it; I never told anyone. I never talked to them about it."

Tuesday night's candlelight vigil was intended for survivors like Woodlee. Heritage Hall was lined with organizations that can help those who are abused, and the Carter County Domestic Violence Task Force hopes that sharing those resources will be empowering.

"The most dangerous time is when they're leaving the domestic violence situation," said Paula Colbert, chaiperson of the task force. "You need to prepare for it in advance, you need to do it in a safe manner and these agencies can help people devise that plan."

But the vigil also honored those who didn't escape.As the candles lit silhouettes of the victims, remembering who they were.

Woodlee hopes that her story--and her daughter's--keep victims from staying silent.

"And I think that is a great legacy for Ashleigh and her memory," she said.


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