Domestic violence march aims to raise awareness
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Dozens of South Florida families and supporters joined domestic violence survivors Saturday as they took to the streets for the sixth consecutive year to call attention to a crime that continues to make headlines around the world.
Participants came together at the Senator Gwen Margolis Amphitheater for the Sixth Annual Domestic Violence Walk & Expo in North Miami Beach. Domestic violence survivor Chaundra Robertson encouraged victims to seek help. "Find a safe place," she said. "If you're nervous, find a safe place you can go to. There's too many people here that can support you."
Domestic violence survivor Sandra Gipson said she credits these types of gatherings with helping her heal. "Also, my angels who were out there and came and rescued me from the situation," she said. "I am so grateful and thankful, and I'm here to tell you, don't be afraid. Call for help."
Sonia Chess, who also endured domestic abuse, indicated it's imperative for victims to contact authorities. "Tell the family members, tell a friend, but most importantly, tell police and inform them of what's going on so there will be a history of the accusation," she said.
"I hope we raise a lot of money ... and that the walk grows and that the awareness grows," said a supporter.
Chilling reminders of domestic violence have dominated the news, from the victims who came out to the march Saturday to the casualties of widely publicized cases. Southwest Miami-Dade resident Jennifer Alfonso was allegedly shot and killed Aug. 8 by husband Derek Medina, who posted a confession to the murder and a photograph of the victim on his Facebook page.
The domestic double murder of 51-year-old Vivian Gallego Martinez and her daughter, 28-year-old Anabel Benitez, on Sept. 18 was followed by a police chase that crossed county lines and ended in a fatal crash and alleged killer Antonio J. Feliu's apparent suicide. The chain of events shocked families in South Florida and beyond.
Disturbing cases like these have survivors and supporters alike, urging those caught up in domestic violence in any capacity to seek assistance. "[They need to] take a look at themselves, their atmosphere and their situation around them," said Chess. "They will either get the help that they need or get out of the relationship that they're in."
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