Walk to support sexual assault victim brings together strangers, creates friends

Walk to support sexual assault victim brings together strangers, creates friends

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Emily Burke was one of several women who, angered by the news of a woman being assaulted on the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge just one week ago, jumped right in as a volunteer for the new group Women Against Violence Everywhere. Friday night's bridge walk was born out of a common goal, and brought together people who have never met - even some of the organizers.

Burke had not even met coordinator Robin Cooley until the day of the event. At the speed with which the group and the event came together, she didn't have time.

"It's a great thing because women are coming together not even knowing each other. It's just for the simple cause that we want to support this lady who was affected last week, "she said.

Between 250 and 300 people - men, women and children - joined the new group and its first event. The participants signed a pledge to do what they could to encourage officials to make their community safer, particularly the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge.

"We just didn't want to let time go by because he's still out there... It hit home for us because it was somebody our age and someone who exercises daily right here in this community, just like we do. It could have been any of us."

Brian Margavich, who is stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, reached out to provide audio support for the event.

"I was irate last week when I saw the story on the news about that lady getting attacked," he said. "I have a lot of friends that are female. I live at home with a wife and daughter. I think they should be able to exercise and do things around the community without having to worry about stuff like this."

Cooley said she has not formulated future plans for the organization, but because there is such a need and lots of support, "I don't see the group going away anytime soon."

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