Passionate speeches, monologues and a big turn out from organizations and the community made for another successful Stop the Silence Awareness Rally Thursday afternoon in the Stephenville downtown plaza.

“This is my third year and it’s grown every year and so from a committee perspective, it’s great to see all these organizations and community members come out and support this cause,” said Melinda Starnes with CASA for the Cross Timbers Area. 

The event’s goal is to support victims of violent crime and spread awareness to the community about ways they can help prevent acts of violence.

“Statistics do not show us the effects violent crime has on an individual, families and the community,” District Attorney Alan Nash said in a moving speech. “There is no number that is acceptable when it comes to violent crime.”

The Tarleton State University choir sang beautiful melodies for attendees, Stephenville High School theatre students performed powerful monologues about abuse, County Attorney Lisa Pence recited the support pledge and Mayor-Elect Dough Svien read the Stephenville City Council proclamation.

“On April 3, the Stephenville City Council passed the following proclamation: ‘April 8-14 is National Crime Victim Rights Week and the whole month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month,’” Svien said. “And this has been signed by Mayor Kenny Weldon.”

Each year SHS art students design flags, which are judged. This year’s winner was Vicky Vu and her design will be used for next years Stop the Silence T-shirt.

Several organizations, businesses and volunteers — including the TSU TexAnn basketball team — had booths and games available for children and community members, and the Stephenville Police Department provided dinner for everyone by cooking up hot dogs.

The event concluded with the balloon release tradition.

There are many organizations in Erath County available to the public for information and ways to help prevent and report violent crime and Stop the Silence is a collaborative effort between: Cross Timbers Family Services, CASA, Paluxy River Children’s Advocacy Center, BACA, the district and county attorney offices, Erath County Juvenile Probation Department, Stephenville Police Department. Department of Health & Humane Services, Tarleton State University, STARRY Counseling and Maximus, Inc.