LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In the 1970's, it began as a way to say to the public that women should be able to walk at night without fear. Over the years, the event known as "Take Back the Night" has turned into a way for communities to take a stand against violence.
On the University of Louisville campus, pinwheels line the lawn placed there by students and staff who know a victim of physical or sexual violence.
Take Back the Night is a chance for those victims to finally let their voice be heard in public and what they say is powerful and clear and at times stopped the crowd in its tracks.
The crowd first heard from a voice that was taken away by an older cousin.
"Every slumber party we had," the young man told the group, "at the end of the night he would come in my room, he got under my covers and he told me that I liked it."
Another voice was taken at age 13 at church.
"When I got weak enough it turned to physical abuse and sexual abuse and eventually he locked me in the basement in one of the Sunday school rooms and raped me," the young woman told the group gathered on campus.
It wasn't until two years later when some boys realized what was going on and became her protectors.
Andree Mondor is someone who understands why many victims aren't ready to put a face or name with the voice.
"I was sexually abused as a child," she told WAVE 3 News.
Mondor, of The Clothesline Project, says thanks to organizations like hers and community events like Take Back the Night she was able to find her voice.
"My perpetrator was taken to a psychiatrist but, he received no punishment," said Mondor.
She hopes to help others find support and courage so they can finally being heard.
"I'm finally not afraid," said one young victim. "I'm not ashamed and I will never be ashamed again."
The Center for Women and Families and the University of Louisville PEACC program is on hand to help anyone who needs it. Call the Center for Women and Families at 581-7200 or the University of Louisville PEACC program at 852-2663.
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