By Anna-Marie Menhenott
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- In an effort to empower victims against sexual violence, Mindi Fetterman is hosting the third annual "Take Back The Night," on Dec. 6.
The event, which will be held at River Walk Center in Fort Pierce from 6-10 p.m., will help raise awareness and shatter the silence for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
"This is a way for the victims of sexual assault to speak out and to help them relieve some of the demons they live," said Ms. Fetterman, a survivor and advocate for women. "We hope to raise our voices so the community is aware of the dangers of sexual assault."
The community is invited to participate in the third annual event to help raise awareness and shatter the silence for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
"There will be many community resources which will be on hand to answer questions and distribute literature and information on services and resources," Ms. Fetterman said.
Local teenage girls who have been affected by sexual violence have hand-decorated T-shirts with personal expressions and artwork. The T-shirts will be strung on a clothesline suspended in the space as part of the Clothesline Project. The Clothesline Project is a program started in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women by offering a vehicle for women and girls affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women.
"Typically, when a person is a victim of a sexual assault, they are asked, what could you have done differently to prevent what happened," Ms. Fetterman said. "That doesn't prevent the crimes. It lays a sense of blame on the victim. We shouldn't be afraid to be outside at night. We have to look at the perpetrators, not the victims. We are giving a voice to the victims and trying to take away the voice of the perpetrator."
A march through downtown Fort Pierce will be followed by a candlelight vigil and speak-out of victims of sexual violence sharing their stories.
"Many times, during the speak-out part of the event, someone comes forward for the first time to speak about how they were a victim of abuse,"Ms. Fetterman said.
"One in every three women is the victim of a sexual assault, often at the hands of someone she knows and loves. Whether it is in the form of incest, date-rape, intimate partner violence, or sexual assault by a stranger, without the community's awareness, it will continue to happen," Ms. Fetterman said. "She might be your sister, your daughter, your niece, or even you. She's a victim of a crime we don't speak about comfortably - and she's probably suffering in a silence that could ruin her life. It's important that victims break the silence and know that there are local resources that she, or he, can turn to."
You don't have to be victim of sexual violence or even know someone who has been, though chances are you do know someone who hasn't shared it - yet.
The event is sponsored by The Inner Truth Project.
For more information, contact Mindi Fetterman at (561) 909-9991, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.innertruthproject.org; www.facebook.com/InnerTruthProject.