JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Onslow Women’s Center held a march Wednesday to bring awareness to violence against women, children and families.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. The Onslow Women’s Center is wrapping up the month with a march in support of sexual assault survivors.
“This is a cause it’s near and dear to my heart,” said Laura Deptola, who walked in the march. “I’m a survivor of domestic violence.”
There was a sea of teal at the Jacksonville Freedom Fountain on Wednesday.
“I’m walking tonight because I think even in 2021, sexual assault is definitely something that gets swept under the rug,” said Melissa Radomicki, Onslow Women’s Center’s associate director.
People gathered to ‘Take Back the Night’ and march for sexual assault awareness.
“I’m a survivor as well from sexual abuse, so I’m here to support the cause,” said Maria Justice.
Many people also wore in blue jeans. April 28 is Denim Day. It’s a campaign that began in response to a 1999 ruling in an Italian Supreme Court rape conviction.
“The woman who was assaulted was told that it could not have been rape because her jeans were too tight, so she must have had help taking them off, so therefore the assault was actually consensual,” said Radomicki. “In protest, every denim day in April everybody wears jeans in solidarity.”
Walkers marched up New Bern Street. Some, like Deptola, even brought signs.
“Love should never hurt,” she said. “Shouldn’t hurt physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, financially or any other way.”
The march ended at the Onslow Women’s Center, where community partners had information tables set up and people could grab a bite to eat.
“Really what I wanted most out of this event was for survivors to see all the community resources and all the community support and not be scared or not be shameful anymore,” said Radomicki.
“Women can’t be afraid to speak out when they’re being hurt or have been hurt,” said Deptola. “You need to tell someone. Doesn’t matter who it is, but tell someone. End the silence and stop the violence.”
For resources and more information on the Onslow Women’s Center, click here.