UNLV Students Honor Domestic Violence Victims - 8 News NOW

UNLV Students Honor Domestic Violence Victims

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LAS VEGAS -- Approximately every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the world by a stranger or someone the victim knows. UNLV students honored domestic violence victims Wednesday night at the Take Back the Night march.

Sixteen people have died in Nevada this year from domestic violence. The march recognized those victims with flowers. Their names were also added to a plaque that honors their memory.

Violence can come in a variety of ways that can torment victims for the rest of their lives.

"My ten to twelve-year-old black girl body was fondled, touched and kissed against my will by my paternal step grandfather, the only paternal grandfather I knew," rape victim Aishah Shahidah Simmons said. "Like too many girls and boys in this country and globally, my introduction to my own sexuality didn't include consent."

The stories are chilling. Victims shared their private pain with the hope of helping others deal with theirs. Advocates said victims often blame themselves for the crimes committed against them.

Students organized the Take Back the Night event, taking their traumatic experiences to the sidewalks around the UNLV campus and raising awareness.

Carmella Gadsen of the UNLV Women's Center helped organize the march. She says she was motivated by her sister, who was a victim.

"It's very troubling. It's very rampant, and lives are being broken every couple of minutes," she said. "We can't wait for the day that we don't have to march anymore. As a secondary victim myself, it was extremely troubling. Someone I cared about and deeply love was harmed in a way that I didn't know how to fix."

Advocates said the solution is education.

Nevada recently fell in a nationwide ranking of domestic violence related deaths. The state was number one for several years, but recently dropped to 16.

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