TAKE BACK THE NIGHT; Family Violence Rally Draws Hundreds Organizers Say 2,270 Sex Crimes Were Investigated in Jacksonville in 2002

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen, The Times-Union

When Connie Blue took advantage of a balmy evening for a walk at The Jacksonville Landing Wednesday, she found reminders of a difficult time in her past.

"I was hit," said Blue, 26, who came upon a Take Back the Night rally designed to focus attention on the problem of violence against women. "I hid it for a long time."

Blue hadn't known about the rally but stayed to hear the program. Handouts from sponsoring organizations filled a couple of bags hanging from the handles of the strollers she used for two young daughters who were with her.

Nearly 10 years ago, the violent relationship in California finally forced her into abuse shelters. She moved to Jacksonville five years ago.

"I think they should do this for teenage girls," she said. "Older men take control of them."

Roughly 200 people spread out around the Landing's central courtyard, and at one point marched out and around the complex blowing whistles and chanting "Stop the violence. Break the silence. Take back the night."

A "Stop Family Violence" stamp released to the public this month was displayed. Available for 45 cents apiece, they can be used in place of a 37-cent stamp. The remaining 8 cents will be donated to anti-domestic violence programs run by the federal government, Postal Service spokesman Tony Joy said.

Organizers of the rally said the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office investigated 2,270 sex crime cases in 2002. Nationally, only 18 percent of those types of cases are reported, according to statistics from the group. …