BARSTOW • Each year a group of Barstow residents light candles and walk the streets of Downtown Barstow, remembering those who lived with domestic abuse.

Some light candles for a mother or a sister. Others light candles in honor of their own survivorship. John Muñoz will light his candle for his daughter, Becky.

"I pretend like it's her birthday," he said. "It isn't, but I just say that's why we're there."

Ten years ago Becky Muñoz was killed by her ex-boyfriend, her body found in a trash can near her Santiago Desert View Estates home. In October 2001, residents gathered at Becky Muñoz's home, lit candles and walked to Downtown Barstow in her memory and in the memory of others living with domestic abuse.

For Muñoz, whose family has attended the vigil every year since Desert Sanctuary and the Haley House began it, every year he sees new faces.

"Every time we go it seems like somebody else and somebody else," he said. "It keeps on going on and on I guess forever. But we go because hopefully they can see that we care."

On Saturday, people will also light candles for the children who have had to live with domestic abuse. Many victims of domestic violence victims who stay in abusive situation often use their children as reasons, said Peggi Fries, Desert Santuary's executive director.

Domestic violence victims also often say it's because of their children that they left an abusive situation. 

"Children have no voice or vote," Fries said. "They can't say we've had enough we need to go to the shelter. It's a situation where children are witnessing the most horrendous things and can do nothing."

Children will be speaking at this year's vigil, either directly to the crowd or through an adult.

"It will really be an eye opener," she said.

In addition to the candlelight vigil to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Amber Woods, owner of the Cutting Edge hair and nail salon will be offering $15 shampoos and haircuts on Fridays this month. The proceeds will go to the Haley House.

Woods, whose salon is a member of Cut It Out, a nationwide program with the Salon Against Abuse Fund, said she knows Becky Muñoz's family well.

"We have a moment of silence and say a prayer for anybody that's either going through domestic violence or has been through it even if it's a family member," she said. "(It) spreads more awareness, especially to younger girls on how to prevent it and what signs to look for."

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or jcejnar@desertdispatch.com