BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Iris Domestic Violence Center is presenting many "Take Back the Night" events this month to raise awareness for domestic abuse.
Events will include candlelight marches and vigils in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, New Roads, and Plaquemine. The goal of "Take Back the Night" is to create safer communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.
"We seek to end domestic violence, dating violence, and all other forms of relationship violence. By increasing awareness and educating our communities to recognize domestic violence we can help end violence against women, men, and children," said Lynne Medley-Long, executive director of Iris.
Domestic violence affects family members, friends, co-workers, witnesses, and the community at large, as well as the victim. Children who grow up seeing domestic violence are also seriously affected by the crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home predisposes children to many social and physical issues, and also teaches them that violence is a normal part of life, therefore increasing their risk of becoming the next generation of victims and abusers.
"The fact is that in the United States, over the last year, there have been 359 documented domestic violence gun-related fatalities since January 1, 2016." That's according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
In Louisiana, there have been 55 homicides related to domestic violence in the past year.
Nationally, one third of women and one sixth of men have been beaten or abused in their life by someone they know. Less than 50 percent of this abuse is reported to law enforcement. Iris believes it's time to change this statistic and stop the violence.
The "Take Back the Night" event schedule is as follows:
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12
- Survivor Candlelight Vigil at the Iris Center (location confidential) at 6 p.m.
SUNDAY, OCT. 23
- Resource Fair with food and music at the LSU Memorial Tower at 5 p.m.
- Candlelight Vigil at 6 p.m.
- Candlelight March at 7 p.m.
MONDAY, OCT. 24
- Candlelight Vigil at Jambalaya Park in Gonzales at 6 p.m.
TUESDAY, OCT. 25
- Candlelight Vigil at Waterfront Park in Plaquemine at 6 p.m.
THURSDAY, OCT. 27
- Annual Domestic Violence Dinner at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel at 5 p.m.
"While we have recently seen an increase in violence across our nation challenging all of the progress that has been made over the last 20 years against domestic violence, we all must arise in the face of these new challenges to do all we can do. It's time to stop the violence. We invite you to join our march to end domestic violence against women, men, and children," said Medley-Long.