LYNN — Members from the YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center, Children’s Friend and Family Services, Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development, and the City of Lynn came together for a “Take Back the Night” sexual violence awareness march on Wednesday evening.
According to the CDC, over half of women and around one third of men have experienced sexual violence that involved physical contact in their lifetime. One in four women and about one in 26 men have been victims of completed or attempted rape.
That is why Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is recognized in April in order to bring awareness and prevention of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
For Wednesday’s event, the group met in the Lynn Common and marched to the Lynn Housing Authority. Participants held signs with sayings such as “your voice has power” and “no more silence, end the violence.”
Dalene Basden, an organizer of the event and director of family and community engagement at Children’s Friend and Family Services, said she wanted to be part of the event because she has seen what victims of sexual assault face through her job.
“They need to be believed, they need to be heard, and they need to be supported. So our agency is there for the women for the men and all those who are affected by sexual assault,” Basden said. “We’re here for the victims so that they know that they have someone.”
Program Director at YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center Ross Steinborn said YWCA has done this event, as well as others, in the past but had to pause due to COVID-19. Now, it is trying to restart event work.
Along with Wednesday’s “Take Back the Night” gathering and march, YWCA and the city are also participating in the “Clothesline Project,” Steinborn said.
“The ‘Clothesline Project’ started in the 90s, actually here in Massachusetts, and it’s a way for survivors through art to express their story so they don’t have to tell their story in exacting detail or anything like that and they can design a T-shirt that gives some hope to other survivors,” he said.
The T-shirts are then displayed on a clothesline to enhance community awareness and support, he added.