LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Supporters, family members and friends filled the McMillan Community Recreational Center in Lake Charles to shed a light on an issue commonly kept in the dark.
"Domestic violence is a major issue for so many women, children and men," said guest speaker Shayla Payne of DeQuincy. "It is an issue that needs to be brought to light and people need to know that there is help out there."
The Silent Cries Youth Domestic Violence Organization held its first public event to help raise awareness and prevention for those suffering or have suffered from domestic violence.
"We want people to come our way with some support and encouragement knowing that somebody's going to be there for them," said founder Connie Lewis, who also oversees another organization designed to help former inmates get back on their feet. "They don't have to hide and they don't have to be silent any longer."
Guest speakers and supporters broke their silence and shared their personal experiences with domestic violence.
"You are not supposed to remain where you are hurt," said Payne, who attended the event with her husband and children. "Somebody has to break that silence."
Supporter Robyn Bauer of Lake Charles says Silent Cries means more to her than just another organization.
"I've been a survivor for a long time," said Bauer. "Abuse can be mental, verbal, physical, sexual and at a very young age, I was exposed to the harsh reality. I feel like this is my job to reach out and to let these kids know, it's okay."
To make sure the organization was recognized, Silent Cries chose the color orange as their organization color and made sure everyone at the McMillan center knew that was the color that meant it was time to break the silence.
The group released a set of orange balloons to honor all domestic violence survivors and as a promise to help those who need it most.