CITY HALL — Dozens of women gathered Thursday night on the steps of the Glendale police headquarters to call for an end to sexual and domestic violence.
The annual Take Back the Night rally has become a staple around the world and in Glendale, where residents have been empowered to speak out against violence on women.
“Let’s all try to help each other, to look out for each other and to continue until violence stops,” said Paula Devine chairwoman of the city’s Commission on the Status of Women, which sponsored the rally with the YWCA of Glendale.
Residents chanted supportive words and held signs as they marched from the Police Department in the 100 block of North Isabel Street to the YWCA in the 700 block of East Lexington Avenue.
Participants gathered at YWCA to view shirts decorated by survivors of violence for the Clothesline Project. Organizers said decorating the shirts allows the survivors of violence to break their silence.
“Violence does not happen only in our community; it happens within our home, it happens within two people,” said Liza Boubari, vice president of the YWCA Board of Directors.
Three rapes were reported in Glendale during the first two months of this year, but the number of domestic violence incidents jumped to 59 for the first two months of this year from 49 for the same period last year, according to the Glendale Police Department.
“This is something that we take serious,” Glendale Police Capt. Mike Rock told marchers. “We see it day in and day out, and we do not tolerate it in the city of Glendale.”
Maintaining a strong partnership with community organizations, including the YWCA and the commission, has allowed the Police Department to better support victims of violence, he said.
Rock pledged that the Police Department would continue to work with the organizations to address domestic and sexual violence issues in the city.
The women’s commission hosted a series of events during April's Sexual Assault Awareness month to raise public awareness about violence against women.
Two free self-defense classes for women were held this month at the Glendale Police Department and Glendale Community College. About 120 women from the ages of 13 to 70 years attended the classes, organizers said.
City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian encouraged marchers to stand up to other people who say or act violent and degrade women.
“It’s not enough to just envision a world free of violence against women, but we ourselves must live that ideal every day,” he said.