Some of those attending the Walk of Warriors event on Saturday begin their walk from Center Lake to the Old County Courthouse on Saturday. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union.

At the Walk of Warriors event on Saturday, people were able to share their stories of abuse and walk around the Old Sexual, Emotional, Mental and Physical Abuse Courthouse.

Organizer Stephanie Puckett said she plans to make the event annual. There is a Facebook page called “We are Warriors” for this.

Puckett said his daughter chose the name Walk of Warriors because anyone who has experienced any type of violence is a warrior.

Puckett’s daughter said Saturday’s event was aimed at helping girls and boys know there is help for those facing abuse.

There was a raffle during the event which raised $ 404 for the Warsaw Police Department. Puckett said her daughter wanted to raise money for the police department because when she was assaulted the WPD handled the situation well.

Jasmine Capps said she was sexually abused with one of her mother’s boyfriends being her abuser.

She said she didn’t really have a father figure and didn’t really know what the love of a father figure was. She didn’t realize what was going on right away.

When Capps told his mom, Capps said his mom didn’t believe her. Capps was told she has an active imagination.

Capps’ mother had an argument with her boyfriend, where he threatened to lock them in the house and burn the house down before letting them go. The police were called and he was arrested. Then Capps was allowed to tell his story.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and served seven months, she said.

Melanie Ambrose said she was sexually abused in her family and was 23 before her mother found out. A letter was found that Bradley wrote, and her mother asked if a relative had ever abused her. When she said yes, her mother said that this parent had also abused her.

Ambrose said it broke her heart because the person who was supposed to protect her always put her in the same situation by having this parent watch her.

She did not learn any coping mechanism. She started using drugs in college. She now has six years of abstinence. She is preparing a bachelor’s degree in drug addiction crisis intervention.

Thinking back on things, because people always asked her why she didn’t say anything, Ambrose said that a young girl didn’t know how to tell people how a parent touched them, especially when she was continually being put in the household. . She didn’t even know she would be believed.

She is open to what happened to her. Some of her relatives cut off communications with her because they did not see the abusive side of this parent.

It took her a very long time to realize that it is not okay for people to get a hold of you, but okay to stand up. Bradley said she believes more people than others have experienced some kind of abuse, whether it’s sexual abuse or some other kind of abuse.

“We have to stop the silence,” Ambrose said. If the silence is not stopped, the stigma will not end and there will be more victims and “there will be a whole generation that we will have failed because we leave their predators, their aggressors … unpunished”.

If people are afraid or start to act, people need to recognize the symptoms. She said the adults are there to protect the children. Learning the signals of abuse or aggressors can help.

An abuser can be male or female, although men are eight times more likely to be abusers.

After the raffle and people shared their experiences, those in attendance walked from Center Lake to the Old County Courthouse.