EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. – Victims of crime took to the streets all over the Capital Region Thursday to Take Back the Night as part of the national Crimes Victims' Rights Week.
Participants at local events said they had been to hell and back but had come out stronger than ever through nights like these. The event in Albany highlighted sexual abuse. The East Greenbush event highlighted domestic violence.
Lauren Prosper is a 17-year-old student at Albany High School. She came to the event at Albany Law School for the second year in a row to tell her story of being sexually assaulted when she was 13.
“Before ninth grade, a stranger assaulted me when I was on vacation in Florida,” she said. “I don't know who the person was, and I didn't tell my parents until six months later.”
Prosper said it was a trying time for her after the assault. She went through counseling which helped to clear her mind. She said a night like Take Back the Night is very comforting.
“It makes me feel like I'm not alone and there's other people going through this, too, and being together,” she said. “We all can make it.”
Marsha Lasher-Warner came out to the event in East Greenbush. Lasher-Warner is the mother of Liza Warner who was killed in a domestic violence incident nearly ten years ago.
“I've made so many friends through this tragedy, and it's very heartwarming to see the community come together and support us,” she said.
Sixteen months ago, Ashley Hart watched her sister Nikki Hart be brutally murdered. Ashley wishes she didn't have to participate in Thursday's event, but she said she marched so someone else doesn't have to.
“I never knew that the support was out there and to have the community back us from every step of the way is unbelievable,” she said.
The next local Crime Victims' Rights event is the 18th Crime Victims' Memorial and Walkway at 1 p.m. Saturday at Empire State Plaza.