Light the Night Walk to be held Thursday evening


The Light the Night Walk will be held Thursday, in honor and memory of crime victims in the community.

The event will also take place during National Crime Victims' Rights Week (April  through 13).

“We are excited to announced a partnership with the District Attorney’s Office and Legal Aid of Tennessee to bring back the Light the Night Walk to benefit the domestic violence program of Legal Aid,” wrote 10th Judicial District Attorney General Steve Crump and Suzanne Wisdom, development specialist for Legal Aid of Tennessee in a joint press release.

Crump and Wisdom said a group of advocates had a dream to start a memorial walk 10 years ago, in memory of young Melisha Gibson, a 4-year-old girl from this community who died after days of vicious abuse at the hands of her stepfather.

“We are excited to continue this tradition,” stated Crump and Wisdom.

Both said they are working to recruit teams, walkers, contributors and sponsors for the event, in which 100 percent of proceeds raised will go toward helping victims of domestic violence at the Cleveland legal aid office.

Wisdom said the walk will begin at dusk, with walkers beginning their trek at Greenway Park at Raider Drive, to the Prayer Garden and back.

“The walkers will begin at dusk and return under the starlight,” Wisdom said.

Participants are asked to check in at the event at 6:30 p.m. The walk will begin at approximately 7 p.m.

Legal Aid is a nonprofit law firm that provides civil legal help free of charge to its clients and whose mission is to strengthen communities and change lives through high-quality legal services.

The organization helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by working with each client to develop a safety plan to ensure their immediate and long-term safety, and by helping them obtain orders of protection through the court system.

Domestic violence, sexual assault and domestic homicide are significant problems in Tennessee.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 77,846 domestic violence incidents occurred in Tennessee in 2017.

A report released by the Violence Policy Center ranks Tennessee fourth in the nation in the rate of women killed by men. In 96 percent of those deaths, the woman knew her killer.

According to Legal Aid, “... every 98 seconds a woman is sexually assaulted. In addition, one in six adult women and one in 33 adult men reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives. Seven out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.”

Particularly vulnerable are people with disabilities, who “may feel isolated and feel they are unable to report the abuse. Like many who are abused, those with disabilities are usually abused by someone they know, such as a partner or someone they are dependent upon for their care.”


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