Imelda Esquer stood behind a table representing the YWCA on Thursday at Pima Community College.
She was just one of the survivors of violence speaking out against sexual abuse at the Take Back the Night Tucson event.
For Esquer, the event had a huge impact on her because it was a space where survivors could come together and heal.
We internalize the guilt, because of society, because we are afraid to open up, because we are afraid to speak, Esquer said.
As the program manager for the YWCAs Promotoras Against Violence group, she helps women who have survived abuse connect with resources that will help them heal from the trauma.
The more we are expressing what we feel, the more awareness that we raise, the more information that we provide, she said.
At the event, pants painted by survivors with messages like Hands off hung on a bench while shirts with messages like Stop the abuse hung on a clothes line.
I can feel the pain but I also I can feel the power and the courage and to be brave, Esquer said about the shirts.
Bravery is what Rebekah Browns blog, website, and podcast are all about. She writes and talks about her experience surviving abuse as a way to heal in hopes of helping others.
I meet survivors everywhere and theres a fellowship of that that really helps with healing, she said.
Satbirkar Shalsa has been advocating for survivors for years and said shes been marching in Take Back the Night events since the 1970s.
Theres been a lot of progress. Were able to talk about it more. Look at all the resources that are available, she said.
The event connected the community with therapy opportunities and opportunities to connect with groups of people that have survived abuse.
However, perhaps the biggest for of therapy for the survivors was each other.
Being here is about being brave, Esquer said.