UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - YWCA held their annual "Take Back the Night" event Thursday, in which domestic abuse victims, students from local colleges, police officers and the mayor marched the streets in downtown Utica.
The event is meant to remove the silence around domestic violence. Following the march, victims shared their personal stories.
"What will come out of it is we'll have people who have been victims of domestic violence or another type of violence - they'll have an opportunity to share their story and for some people, this is their first time they talk publicly about it," said Natalie Brown, executive director of the YWCA. "But what they also get is a feeling of support that knowing they're not alone, it wasn't their fault and that they deserve respect and I think it's a good environment for that," said Natalie Brown, executive director of YWCA.
It's called "Take Back the Night," because women are often afraid of walking at night and this is a way for them to take a stance, take back the streets and take back their freedom.
Brown said many people think of domestic violence is physical abuse, but it's more than that. It can be jealousy, control, isolation from family, and excessive calling and texting. Brown said it's important to make people aware of these signs and to show victims there are local resources.
About 1.3 million women are victimized by domestic violence in the United States each year and it's a big problem locally.
The YWCA has received an increase in calls to their hotline, but Brown said this is likely from an increase in awareness, not an increase in abuse.
There is a second "Take Back the Night" event in Rome on Oct. 22.
If you or anyone you know is being abused, there are two places you can turn to for help.
Catholic Charities: 866-0458.
Someone is available 24 hours a day to take your call.