It's Valentine's Day, a day for celebrating love. But two local organizations marked a different kind of occasion this afternoon by raising awareness for sexual violence.
The event was called “One Billion Rising for Justice.”
Many women have experienced it first hand, and it's not something everyone wants to talk about.
“My freshman year of college, I was a victim of date rape. I realized that it was something that was just brushed under the rug in our communities. And often times, victims were made to feel like they have caused this,” said Bergen Baucom, founder of Miniskirts, Mace and Other Misconceptions (MMOM).
Now, she's supporting, educating and empowering other victims on college campuses and in the community through her own organization.
"We just try to raise awareness, get the word out, and let people know that the Wiregrass will not tolerate violence. So we're here, and we're dancing,” said Baucom.
The House of Ruth partnered with MMOM to sponsor the event. They say they couldn't have picked a more poetic and better spot than Justice Park to mark the occasion.
"Especially like a beautiful day like today, people are going to come out, enjoy food, and we are also raising awareness for our cause," said House of Ruth Victim’s Advocate Danna Thompson.
At noon, everyone danced to none other than Aretha Franklin's song, "Respect," a classic theme that hits home to many.
"It just brings attention, especially on this day of love. It's not that we don't believe in love, but for some women, the only flowers they ever get is the cascade that's on their coffin," House of Ruth Executive Director Beverly Youse said.
These organizations are spreading their own message of love, through their efforts to end violence against women.
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