Advocates raise awareness during Crime Victims' Rights Week

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana is recognizing April 2 through 8 as Crime Victims' Rights Awareness Week. It's an effort to raise awareness about families that have been affected by crimes such as rape and domestic violence.

The Department of Public Safety and Corrections held a presentation Wednesday, April 5 at their headquarters in Baton Rouge, where crime victim Theolonious Gage, gave a speech about her tragic experience with domestic violence.

She was able to walk away from an abusive relationship early in her life, but her daughter, Yarnell Gage, was not so lucky. The 24-year-old was shot and killed by an abusive boyfriend in 2007. She says more women need to summon the courage to call out their abusers and leave those relationships behind.

"I just wanted to kind of shine the light to kind of let people know how the victims actually feel," Gage said. "We're not doing this because we want to, it's because we're afraid and we want people to understand that."

"It's not OK for someone to put their hands on you," said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, who was also at the event. "And you just cannot come in and d rop charges and expect it's gonna' happen, because we look at every one in detail, and we learn so much more on defendants and about victims."

The Louisiana DOC stays in touch with over 16,000 registered crime victims to help them move forward.

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