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'Speak up and speak out' walk for peace

Posted at 11:33 PM, Oct 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-07 23:34:53-04

A group gathered at Lake Montebello Sunday evening for a walk and bike ride around the lake to raise awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault. They wanted to encourage people to speak up and speak out if they see abuse, and let survivors know they aren't alone. 

"I will not be silent again. Because perpetrators are very gifted at making us keep out silence," sexual assault survivor Deneen Morgan-Burley said.

Morgan-Burley, born and raised in Baltimore, says she wishes she got this message when she was younger.

"I was raped when I was 11 years old and 26 years old and I had a witness that did not come forward so I vowed I was going to speak up and speak out and not let this happen to anyone else again," Morgan-Burley said.

Joining the walk were families from across the area, as well as Sonya Chapple, a woman personally impacted by domestic violence. She says her daughter India was killed by her ex.

"We lost her on April 19, 2014 due to domestic violence," Chapple said. "She had a beautiful personality."

She's made it her goal to make sure another family doesn't have to go through the same heartbreak she went through.

"It really touches my heart. Any way I can help a community and let people know that people are thinking about them and they are not alone," Chapple said. 

She is hosting India's Purple Ribbon Banquet next Saturday. It's free for anyone to attend and she hopes people will bring non-perishable Thanksgiving food items so they can assemble food baskets to give to families in need in India's honor. It's from 3-5 p.m. at the Baltimore City Mediation Center. 

Morgan-Burley also hopes to shed light on the dark problem that's at the center of national conversation.

"We keep worrying about how it's going to affect the perpetrator and the relationship and how it may ruin a career, but it already ruined a life," Morgan-Burley said. "Just because it takes a long time doesn't mean it's not true. It took me 39 years to speak. The reason why I'm doing this is I don't want other young girls and women like me to take 39-40 years to speak. I want them to get the help that wasn't there for me."

As part of their message of peace, they also called attention to the next Baltimore Ceasefire weekend which is November 2-4.