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Domestic violence victims, survivors gather for "Take Back the Night"

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the YWCA Mohawk Valley hosted its annual "Take Back The Night" rally Wednesday.

The event started with a march around Utica's City Hall. Victims or not, over 100 men and women of all ages joined together to send the message "Stop Domestic Violence."

"We really want people to live in a violence free world especially when they're in a partner relationship," said YWCA of the Mohawk Valley's Executive Director Natalie Brown. "That's the real key when you're in a relationship, that's suppose to be your haven, your safety net, where you feel most comfortable and have violence invade that is just really destructive."

After the march the night transitioned into a speak-out session, where victims shared their stories to raise awareness, help others, and reclaim their voice.

"When someone's been beaten down for a while whether it's physically or emotionally they really don't become themselves, and what we've heard victims say is when they finally get out and they start to live their lives on their own terms and really start to build themselves they look in the mirror and say that's me, they've really recognized that they've gone away," said Brown.

The event also featured a display in City Hall of YWCA's Silent Witness Project, a memorial exhibit honoring individuals that have died as a result of domestic violence and the Clothesline Project, and exhibit of shirts with messages by domestic and sexual violence survivors.

The YWCA says every year the receive over 1,000 calls for domestic violence in just Oneida County. They provide a 24 hour confidential hotline for victims or those who know someone being abused. In Oneida County that number is: (315) 797-7740. In Herkimer County: (315) 866-4120.

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