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Domestic violence survivors gather to spread awareness

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BATON ROUGE - Advocates against domestic violence rallied together to have their stories heard at the Goodwood Library Saturday morning.

The ‘Walk a Mile in my Shoes’ rally, hosted by Miss Black Louisiana USA, Keyandra Hall along with many others will honor survivors and victims of domestic violence while providing domestic violence awareness information to the community. 

Hall chose to move forward with a Domestic Violence platform because she is a survivor herself.

“It’s going to become very clear what we need to, do but the first step is awareness. Because a lot of people don't know enough, and they're very uneducated when it comes to domestic violence of all types,” Hall said. “Louisiana is ranked number two in the nation on domestic violence cases, and that's death. Our women are not surviving."

The rally quickly turned into a call-to-action by a woman, Angela Gabriel, who made headlines after her spouse shot her 10 times this year, paralyzing the mother of four.

It happened February 22, 2017 at Gabriel’s Baton Rouge home.

“One Wednesday morning, we were having a discussion and next thing I know I’m being shot,” Gabriel said.

As a result of the shooting, she is permanently paralyzed from the chest down. 

Months after the brutal attack, Gabriel is not falling silent, instead choosing to educate women and men on the issue.

Several in attendance shed tears as Gabriel shared her story in front of those who filled the library.

“I’ve never really cried over being in the wheelchair," Gabriel said. "Because I tell people, I can do without the legs. I still have my mind, and I still have my voice.” 

The resilient mother and other victims, used the rally as an opportunity to help heal other victims, as well as themselves.

“I have a sense of freedom and a sense of awareness for myself, and now I can go on and spread that same awareness to other people,” Keyandra Hall said.

For the women who shared their stories, they said it was a step in their process of healing and recovering. Miss Black Louisiana pleading for other women, young and old, to speak up and seek help.

“Break your silence. You must find something in you that makes you want to leave," Hall said. "Because that was me. I had to find something in me to break my silence. So, that is my suggestion to young girls; break your silence, you never know who you may help.”

At the culmination of the rally, dozens of purple balloons were released to honor the domestic violence victims who didn’t survive to share their stories. As the balloons were released, each person said the name of the individual.

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, help is available.

For 24/7 help through the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the hotline is 1.888.411.1333

I.R.I.S Domestic Violence Center:

Capitol Area 24-hour Crisis Line: (225) 389-3001 or 1 (800) 541-9706

http://www.stopdv.org/

 If you are a youth, you can also call the national youth dating violence crisis line at 1-866-331-9474.

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