Event strikes against violence

Herald/Catrina Rawson - Dozens of T-shirts hang as part of the Clothesline Project during the Take Back the Night event Tuesday at the Oveta Culp Hobby Memorial Library at Central Texas College.

By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

Every three minutes, a woman is battered. Every five minutes, a female is raped. Every 10 minutes, a little girl is molested. Every seven minutes, a woman is killed.

These striking statistics are the reason students, faculty members and community advocates came together at the Central Texas College library Tuesday evening for the college's fourth annual Take Back the Night event.

The rally was held to publicly oppose sexual assault and violence against women, raise community awareness and serve as a collective voice for victims of domestic violence.

It is held every year in local communities across the nation. The CTC multicultural committee, the library, and Student Life and Activities organized the CTC event.

"Violence knows no gender. Violence knows no age. The old and the young are affected. Violence just happens," said Deba Swan, dean of library services.

The night featured guest speakers from different social and support agencies, and performances by CTC theater students and the CTC speech team, as well as a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence for the victims of domestic violence.

In a recent study of more than 6,000 college women, 57 percent of those who reported having been raped reported the assault occurred on a date.

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that only 28 percent of rapes and sexual assault are reported.

"Every day, women are beaten for looking the wrong way, for wearing the wrong dress, for cooking a wrong meal, for smiling at the wrong person," Swan said. "Children are drawn into this circle. ? Often, they then repeat the abuse they have seen."

The Clothesline Project was also unveiled. Victims, survivors and secondary victims of domestic violence created T-shirts to display at the event.

The T-shirts, hung from a clothesline, with messages like, "You broke so many bones; however, you never broke my spirit," and "I'm not a victim; I'm a survivor."

Each T-shirt color signifies a different form of abuse.

The project serves as a therapeutic tool for those affected by violence, said Kersten Brooks, director of Student Life and Activities.

"It draws attention to the fact that violence is all around us. It's not just in Dallas, or in New York. It's here locally," Brooks said.

Representatives from Court Appointed Special Advocates, Family Advocacy, Child Protective Services, Families in Crisis, the Gay Straight Alliance and Fashionably Safe all presented at the event.

Near the end, Suzanne Armour, director of programs for Families in Crisis, stressed that those who have suffered from abuse in the past are not victims, but are instead, survivors.

"When you treat someone as a survivor, you're really empowering them, and you're indicating that there's life after what just happened," she said.

"You can move forward."

Contact Rebecca LaFlure at rlaflure@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548.

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