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Domestic violence victim urges other victims to speak out during Yankton, SD vigil

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YANKTON, SD (KTIV) -

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. That translates to 10-million people a year.

Wednesday night, Yankton, South Dakota, community members gathered at for a candlelight vigil to honor victims, survivors and those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.

They heard from one woman about her terrifying experience with domestic violence and how she's a voice for those who are having difficulty speaking out. In 2009, Audrey Mabrey of Tampa, Florida was attacked, raped, beaten with a hammer and set on fire by her husband who is now behind bars. She encourages others, who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, to also speak out. "What I want to say, really to survivors is that there is absolutely help out there for you," said Audrey Mabrey, a survivor of domestic violence. "If you're going to make that decision to leave, it's a very important decision to make for you. But, know that when you do make that decision that you need to seek help and you need to come up with a safety plan to do so because it can be very dangerous to get out of that relationship. But just know that there's hope and there's light on the other side."

"It's very important to remember the victims and the survivors of domestic violence," said Todd Brandt, president of the Yankton Sexual Assault Response and Community Response Team. "So, that's why we do this every year is to show, pay honor to those people that have suffered through these tragic events."

Mabrey shared ten decisions that led to the happy life she lives today. They include acknowledgment and forgiveness.

The vigil is held annually by the Yankton Sexual Assault Response and Community Response Team. It is a victim-sensitive based program designated to provide a team approach to responding to sexual assaults and domestic violence victims. If you are a victim in the area, you can contact the Yankton Police Department to speak with someone at (605) 668-5210.

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