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Apr 25, 2013 11:57 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Canon City marches against sexual assault

Dozens of people marched through the streets of Canon City on Thursday evening to take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault in our communities.

The seventh annual "Take Back the Night" march was organized by Family Crisis Services, a non-profit group that provides resources and support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and similar marches are held across the world throughout the month to highlight the growing problem.

"One in two women in Colorado and one in four men in Colorado experience sexual violence of some kind during their life," explained Kelci Moerbe, a therapist with Family Crisis Services.

Moerbe and volunteer advocate Carole Bergeman say work on the front lines in the fight against sexual violence, offering direct help to survivors.

"You know it happens, you know it's everywhere, but when you're up close and personal with it you realize how much it affects people's lives," Carole Bergeman described. "Women, children, men, it affects everyone."

Canon City Police and the group Bikers Against Child Abuse escorted the crowd of supporters as they marched through down chanting slogans.

Experts say one of the biggest complications of dealing with sexual violence is that the crimes are often unreported due to social stigma. Currently statistics say that every two-minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted, because of under reporting that figure is probably low. Canon City Police Chief Paul Schultz explained that cases involving sexual violence are among the most complex for police.

"Absolutely, some of the most difficult, some of the most heart-wrenching to deal with as well," Schultz said.

The message at Thursday's rally was that if victims don't come forward and if society doesn't show support for the survivors of sexual violence the problem will only continue to grow.

"It's really hard for them to come forward and the more support and belief and people behind them that they have the better changes that we can make in society," explained Kelci Moerbe.

Family Crisis Services leaders said they are the only such group offering support for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Fremont and Custer Counties. They rely on donations, not just monetary but also items that survivors may need in shelters. For more information about Family Crisis Services go to www.familycrisisonline.com.

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