Take Back the Night marchers demonstrate against violence, stigma

CINCINNATI -- The rain was no match for this year's Take Back the Night march, which drew hundreds to Washington Park in the name of support, acceptance and ending the fear felt by many survivors of sexual abuse.

Take Back the Night marches, which began in the United States in 1976, are held worldwide with the goal of drawing attention to sexual, relationship and domestic violence. This year's was the 28th annual march in Cincinnati.

Roxanne Vandams, who identified herself as a survivor of sexual assault, said she was comforted by the presence of other survivors and supporters.

"It's not people that invalidate my story or tell me they don't believe me," she said.

Larry Cahill, another survivor, said he participated because, years ago, a Take Back the Night event gave him the courage and community he needed to publicly come to terms with his assault. Now, he hopes to inspire others who might be in the same situation.

"(The event) was the first time I ever heard a male come open about it, so it kind of gave me the courage to get up and want to talk about it, too," he said. "It's never too late to take back your life."

If you are a victim of sexual or domestic violence seeking help, you can call Women Helping Women's 24-hour crisis line at 513-381-5610 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

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