SUSSEX COUNTY-"We are gathered here today in memory of those who have died as a result of domestic violence, and in honor of those who have survived abusive relationships." So began the Domestic Abuse Services, inc. (DASI) Candlelight Vigil in Newton, held early last month to help launch National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. DASI Board President Debora Meltz welcomed the crowd gathered around the gazebo in the square in Newton. "Domestic abuse has powerful ripple effects throughout our community, and so we must work together - as a community - to help prevent and end it," she said. "Society sends strong messages to boys and young men that being a man' means being physically strong, in control and that violence is acceptable. She noted a bumper sticker that reads "My athlete can beat up your honor student," and questioned the message it sends. Sussex County Prosecutor David Weaver spoke about the increase in domestic violence in our county, and pledged that the Prosecutor's office would continue to prosecute domestic violence as the serious crime it is. Sussex County Freeholder Gary Chiusano, who is a member of the Sussex County Domestic Violence Task Force, talked about how being on the Task Force has been "a real eye-opener," and how impressed he was by the work DASI is doing. The final speaker, lawyer Richard Pompelio, spoke about people he has worked with who have had family members who died in violent relationships. He quoted one woman whose daughter was killed by her husband and who was now raising her two grandchildren, as saying to him, "Why didn't I know? Why didn't I see it?" For more information about DASI services and programs, call 973-579-2386.