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Hundreds of ballons went airborne in commemoration Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The balloon release, in the First Baptist Church Recreational Outreach Center parking lot, was attended by law officers, public officials and others.

Just as balloons come in many colors, there are many kinds of domestic abuse.

Friday, elected officials, law enforcement personnel and crisis workers gathered in front of the First Baptist Church Recreation Outreach Center to release balloons to commemorate the victims of various kinds of violent crimes.

The speaker was Mike Johnson, who investigates child abuse cases for the Plano Police Department.

“This event is not about the professionals who conduct these investigations,” Johnson said. “This month is about those victims who’ve experienced those crimes.”

Johnson explained that the white balloons commemorate homicide victims. Purple represent victims of domestic violence.

“Domestic abuse is one of those hidden crimes,” Johnson said. “There may be some here who are the victims of this type of crime. Know that you have a Help Center and Crisis Center, Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Child Protective Services who are more than willing to help you with those issues.”

Johnson said blue balloons represent child abuse, which includes 20-25 percent of children in the nation.

The final color balloon present at the release was green, for victims of sexual crimes. Sexual violence affects one in three women in their lifetime, according to information from East Texas Crisis Center.

“If there are any of those victims present, I honor you,” Johnson. “I honor you for coming forward and continuing to be a survivor of whatever happened to you.”

Johnson said the officials he met in Henderson County are ready to step up the effort to arrest and prosecute the violent criminals and care for the victims. He said they are also helping to consolidate their services to help victims receive the assistance they need without having to jump around from service to service.

Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee said he had attended a capital murder seminar in Plano earlier this week. McKee said one of the cases studied involved the sexual assault and murder of a pregnant woman whose body was stuffed in a suitcase.

“There are just tragic, tragic stories and every one of us working in this field have stories to tell,” McKee said. “That’s something that never leaves you.”

McKee said the crisis workers who get up in the middle of the night to help victims of violent crimes are like “angels on earth.”

On April 7, McKee said, a proclamation will be read on the courthouse steps recognizing violent crime victims.

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