ELIZABETHTOWN — At a rally here, T-shirts hung on clotheslines told the horrific story of domestic violence and of determined hope.
“I just wanted you to play with me,” was the message written on one of about 70 shirts that carried the words of survivors, their families and friends. “WHY? You caused fear, low self esteem, sadness.
“I’m taking that power back.”
“You were a stranger,” proclaimed another hung on the line on the lawn of the Essex County Courthouse. “I was 12 years old. You said your baby fell down the stairs. You were a Christian, you needed help. You had lied … You took me away and raped me! But I told and you went to prison. You stole my childhood. I’m now 28.
“I’m taking it back.”
AuSable Valley Central School senior Daniel Evans was among those who was moved by the messages.
“It is really heart-breaking to see this,” he said. “What words can you use to really describe what these people went through?
“This is still happening. It just is not right.”
’FIRST RESPONDERS CRITICAL’
A crowd of more than 150 gathered for the recent event hosted by the Essex County Task Force Against Domestic Violence.
They mourned those killed by domestic violence, celebrated the survivors and brought unity to the effort to support the victims.
“It’s very sad and depressing,” AVCS senior Alexis Provost said as she studied the shirts on display.
“I can’t imagine what they and their families went through.”
Program Director Susan Kelley introduced Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague, who thanked everyone who “works tirelessly for the survivors and have them testifying in court.
“The first responders are so critical in getting my statements and helping in our cases.
“As a parent,” she added, “(domestic violence) is heartbreaking and heart-wrenching.