OGDEN, Utah (News4Utah) – Students at Weber State University took a stand against sexual and domestic violence with their ‘Take Back the Night” event held Friday in Ogden.
Survivor and creator of #WhyIStayed Beverly Gooden started off the night with her story of hope.
“Hope is what keeps you alive. When you go through something like sexual violence or intimate partner violence, there’s so much trauma associated with surviving that,” said Gooden, social activist.
Marchers tell News4Utah ‘Take Back the Night’ is all about supporting survivors, taking a stand against domestic violence and building hope for a better future. Social activists say it’s important to have a support system not just to survive, but also to thrive.
“It gives you a sense of belonging and that you can make it,” said Gooden.
Gooden not only wants to see more emotional support from the community, but she also wants to see more financial support from the state.
“A lot of shelters are losing funding, and my purpose here and I think I can speak for everyone here – to make sure there’s a safe space for survivors – make sure they’re safe and away from the person who has abuse them and to make sure they’re held accountable,” said Gooden.
“Not one experience is the same. Not one reaction is the same, but everyone deserves support,” said Paige Davies, Safe@Weber Survivor advocate.
Other social activists say it’s often difficult for people in abusive relationships to leave their partner.
“Research tells us that it takes on average 7 to 11 attempts to be successful in leaving an abusive relationship. There are so many barriers,” said Stephanie McClure, Women’s Center Director.
Some barriers include finances, family pressure, lack of community support, children and the fear others won’t believe them.
“We see this in the media all the time. When people come forward. People question. Why were you there? Why did you do this? There’s all these questions that lead to victim blaming, and lead people to think everyone who talks about this must be a liar,” said McClure.