I sat quietly in the dark, tears streaming down my face as her voice whispered in the blackness.
Her grandfather sexually abused her since she was a little girl. Today, when peers talk about losing their virginity, she lies.
But I was not mourning her, because, as she told her story for the first time, she took that giant leap from victim to acknowledged survivor. She was ready to live.
A large crowd of mostly women, and some men, packed the second floor ballroom of Plattsburgh State’s Angell College Center for Take Back the Night. Take Back the Night is an international event, as people gather and take to the streets to raise awareness about violence against women, share stories, some for the first time, and heal and grow as survivors.
Plattsburgh State students and their supporters were unable to hold the march in the streets this year. Plattsburgh’s Common Council approved it, but restricted it to the sidewalks, citing safety concerns and saying they never approved it for the streets in the past, although that is where it has taken place in the past, and with the assistance of local law enforcement.
I believe the group should have been allowed to march in the streets.
Women experience roughly 4.8 million intimate partner related physical assaults and rapes yearly, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
In 2006, 232,960 women in the United States were raped or sexually assaulted, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. That’s more than 600 women daily.
A survey conducted by the CDC in 2010 found that one in five women has been raped or has experienced an attempted rape, while one in six has been stalked and one in four has been beaten by their intimate partner.
Besides the horrific examples of abuse, there is a glaring societal tragedy occurring in the North Country in terms of enabling and ignorance.