With powerful personal testimonies from women who have overcome domestic violence, the LSU community issued a call for awareness of abuse that undermines the lives of women.
Organized by the LSU Women’s Center, the Take Back the Night rally on Sunday had uplifting moments in stories such as that of Courtney Brandabur and Jacqueline Floyd, both survivors of crime.
For Brandabur, now a 19-year-old LSU student, speaking out against domestic abuse is part of the healing process she has gone through.
“The only way to heal is really to sort of share your suffering,” she said.
Floyd, 50, was victimized more than 25 years ago, but cold-case detectives eventually were able to put away her assailant in 2011.
“I’m not a victim anymore,” Floyd said. “I am a survivor.”
And as Brandabur pointed out, the emotional scars of such events linger, affecting victims in varying ways even years after the fact.
To take back the night, effective action has to come from the community, building on the strength of women reporting abuse. It’s critical to have police and other law-enforcement agencies, and social service agencies, that can respond effectively to the calls. Representatives of the sheriff and the District Attorney’s Office addressed the LSU rally, saying that they are ready to help women in danger.
That is an important message: Help is available.
We commend LSU’s Women’s Center for sponsoring this fifth annual march and rally. It is vital that, as center director Summer Steib said, the events promote community conversations to erase any linger stigma about reporting domestic violence, or responding to it effectively.
Such abuse can occur in wealthy neighborhoods or in poor ones.
The beneficiaries of a more mature approach to this long-standing problem are not only those like Brandabur and Floyd but the larger society as well.