Every day countless organizations tackle the issue of abuse and sexual assault, and several organizations will come together for the annual Stop the Silence Rally taking place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the downtown plaza.
“Each agency that works with prevention or victims of some type of crime would each have their own individual event, so in 2013 we decided if we united, we could have a bigger impact on increasing awareness and addressing the importance of preventing these violent acts of crime,” said Silvia Zamora with Cross Timbers Family Services (CTFS). “We have one common goal in mind — to keep children, women and men safe in our community — and that’s the reason Stop the Silence was created.”
The event is a partnership of more than 13 organizations and is dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse.
“With all these agencies speaking out with one voice, it really is stopping the silence,” said Elizabeth Johnson with the Paluxy River Children’s Advocacy Center. “People now know what to say and to speak up for victims and I think everybody together has a strong voice.”
Several volunteers — including the TexAnn basketball team and TSU social work students — will do their part to help by setting up educational games for kids and making signs.
Stephenville High School theatre students will perform their One Act Play and art students again design flags — the winner will get their design on next year’s T-shirts.
“The design on the back of this year’s shirt is last year’s flag winner,” Johnson said. “We’re really trying to get our kids, young adults and everybody in the community involved.”
The Texas Police Association will be serving up hot dogs at the event for donations, so come hungry.
The Stephenville Sonic will have “Stop the Silence” stickers with a quote placed on each drink purchased up until the event.
Stop the Silence will conclude with a balloon release.
“The focus on prevention is so important because we know the aftermath, but unfortunately the way our services are structured we don’t intervene until something has happened,” said Melody Loya with the TSU department of social work. “So we need more money to go toward prevention programs. It’s part of what we all advocate for and we put a lot of money in postvention because we have to help kids and families that are hurting."