Advocates marched at Fresno State on Wednesday night to raise awareness about domestic violence. The program is called “Take Back the Night” and it’s an international event.
Marching through campus and spending the talking about an often unspoken crime.
“[The] main goal is to break the stigma of domestic violence and educate people,” said Chevelle Vourvon, a student and event organizer.
The theme of the 33rd annual event is “breaking myths” and it was inspired by comments from a Missouri U.S. Senate candidate two months ago.
“If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has a way to shut the whole thing down,” said Todd Akin. He took a lot of heat for the comment and later apologized.
“That really sparked our interest and we plan on destroying other myths as well,” said Vourvon.
Startling statistics are written in chalk and on paper bags lining the sidewalk. One of them says every nine seconds a woman is assaulted and beaten in the U.S. For all the victims, there’s a moment of silence.
One Fresno State student says the takeaway from of all of this is hope.
“I think it's great to let everybody know, and that you can overcome it,” said Fabian Lopez.
One of the speakers, Dakota Draconi, overcame a very abusive past. She says she grew up in a child prostitution ring. She talks about it during events like this one.
“When I was growing up, it had to be a secret and I couldn't tell anybody about it and allowed it to continue. I believe the more we tell people what's happening the more people come to understand and the more safety we can create,” said Draconi.
The evening closed with an open mic session, where other survivors were encouraged to tell their stories.