For the past four years, men, women and children have taken back the night by marching from Guardian Family Services to the Massac County Courthouse to join together for a candlelit program. Metropolis’ fifth annual observance of Take Back The Night is going to be a little different.
This year, the event will take place Sunday at 5 p.m. at Dorothy Miller Park on the Metropolis riverfront for a night of awareness, information, entertainment, music, poetry and the spoken word.
“Take Back the Night events are a time for us to come together as a community to speak out against crime and to support the survivors of those crimes,” said Rita Gower director of Guardian Family Services. “Sunday’s event is geared toward celebrating the journey of survivors.”
Featured for the night will be The House band from Eastland Life Church, led by youth pastor Ryan Anderson. There will also be stories and testimonies from survivors. Concessions will be available. The event is appropriate for all ages. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
Gower noted the night is to not only to show support to victims of domestic violence but also to those of sexual assault, child abuse, bullying and other crimes.
“Domestic violence thrives on silence. That’s why it’s important for us to talk about it,” Gower said. “By supporting organizations such as ours, you can help end the silence and join the movement towards promoting a society where safe, healthy relationships prevail. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence and the truth is, most of us know someone who has been affected by domestic violence. Children exposed to domestic violence can suffer serous long-term consequences that may include difficulty in school, post-traumatic stress disorders, alcohol and/or drug abuse and criminal behavior.”
Guardian Family Services opened its doors a the corner of 10th and Market streets some 13 years ago. In the time since, it has helped over 1000 people with its services, which include orders of protection, counseling, court representation, a 24-hour hotline — 524-HELP (524-4357) — and hotel accommodations for male victims. For female victims and their children, there is also a shelter that is open year-round. The non-profit organization is dependent on tax-deductible donations and grants.
In case of inclement weather, the Sunday’s Take Back The Night event will be held at Eastland Life Church, 716 E. Third St.
Take Back The Night rallies have a three-fold purpose: to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence; to celebrate the strength of women and male allies; and empower all people touched by intimate partner violence. October marks the 26th National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.