Survivors spoke about the impact of relationship violence on our community. The event provided support, inspiration, and resources from those seeking safety from violent relationships.

Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence were honored during a candle light vigil at "Take Back the Night" on Monday at Jambalaya Park in Gonzales. The event was hosted by the Capital Area Family Violence Intervention Center, also known as Iris Domestic Violence Center. It's one of several events to take place this month as October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"At these events, we highlight our efforts to raise awareness, recognize allies, support survivors and remember those we have lost to domestic violence. We also encourage all those who participate to join with Iris to make ending domestic abuse, sexual and relationship violence a lifelong commitment,” said John J. Price, executive director of Iris Domestic Violence Center.

The event honored the women, men, and children who have survived domestic abuse and violence and remembered those victims of rape, sexual assault, murder, and domestic violence in Ascension Parish. It also spotlighted the impact domestic abuse has on families and children.

"IRIS Domestic Violence Center and the members of the Ascension Parish Coordinated Community Response Team hold our Take Back the Night event in Gonzales, as the majority of the services provided for Ascension Parish are located here," said Iris Outreach Case Manager Amy Onxley. "Our services, however are not limited to those living within the city limits of Gonzales . . . We want all men, women and children living with the devastating effects of violence in their home to know help is always available."

Iris staff and volunteers worked resource tables, providing information about the vital services offered in the parish. Representatives from the Ascension Parish District Attorney's Office, the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, and St. Elizabeth Hospital were also expected to be on hand.

A rally line-up including local elected officials, service organization representatives, and speakers began at 6 p.m. Survivors also spoke about the impact of relationship violence on our community. The event provided support, inspiration, and resources from those seeking safety from violent relationships.

Iris Domestic Violence Center is the largest non-profit organization in Louisiana dedicated to the elimination of domestic abuse and relationship violence and supporting the empowerment of survivors. Take Back the Night brought together survivors, supporters, activists, and community leaders in a call to action to end domestic abuse.

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