ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Year round, the professionals at Abilene’s Regional Victim Crisis Center (RVCC) helps survivors of violent crime process their trauma, navigate legal ventures, and lead fulfilling lives free of guilt and shame.

That mission was brought into focus at Everman Park on Thursday, as the RVCC, Abilene Police Victim Services department, and Noah Project held a candlelight vigil for National Crime Victim Awareness Week.

The week of awareness runs through Saturday, April 30, according to the Office for Victims of Crime.

“It’s a very scary and lonesome journey to heal from victimization,” RVCC Executive Director, Janey Wawerna, said.

That’s why the RVCC provides a road map for survivors who may find it difficult to ask for help when feeling overwhelmed by everyday life.

“Getting that fear to subside long enough to ask for help, it may only happen once,” Wawerna said. “We have to be ready.”

Thursday’s vigil was held in hopes of spreading awareness of the services available, as well as provide a show of support for those still suffering.

“Anytime you are at a low point in your life, if you can see others that have been there and survived, and thrived- it’s encouraging,” Wawerna explained.

“This is an opportunity for people to know there is a community there are people that care,” RVCC Counselor, Kim Johnson, said at the vigil.

Wawerna and Johnson told KTAB/KRBC they hope the night also acted as a call-to-action for the Big Country community. A call-to-action to let all know that survivors need their support and advocacy, wherever they can provide it.

“People speak of broken systems,” Wawerna continued. “Systems are made of people, and we need to educate people and correct what we think is broken… And make sure every victim has every bit of the rights we afford the accused.”

Wawerna added, “if they’re brave enough to ask for help, we must be brave enough to have the support they need.”

To learn more about RVCC and their mission, or seek help for yourself or a loved one, click here.