Abuse survivors gather to celebrate, support each other at 'PAVE Rising' event

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A celebration for survivors of abuse took place in Schaumburg Sunday.

The event called "PAVE Rising" is meant to promote the empowerment of those survivors.

For two hours, the Chicago-based organization, Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment or PAVE, presented RISING: Hope for Trauma Survivors and United for Victims' Rights.

"If you're hurt, I want to hear about it. If you heal, I want to cheer about it," said poet and actor Steve Connell.

The event is a unity celebration for the organization's 20th anniversary.

This year, the Chicago organization commemorated two decades of supporting survivors with big-name celebrities and activists coming together for this unity celebration.

"Every single person knows somebody that's been impacted by these crimes: One in four girls and one in six boys will be impacted by sexual trauma," said PAVE's Founder Angela Rose.

Rose is a survivor turned activist.

Through her work with PAVE, she's helped change the lives of countless people through education, legislation reform, advocacy, and support.

"We really want to bring survivors together, to elevate their voices and to make sure to let them know that their story matters and they matter," Rose said. "Our message is one of hope and unity, that no matter what you've been through, you are not alone and it's not your fault."

Rose and Actor and Former NFL Player Terry Crews are headlining the event that will feature artists, celebrities, and activists speakers.

"You start to wonder whether is worth coming forward about your harassment or abuse, and I'm here to tell you that it is," Crews said.

The event falls on the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to overturn actor, Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction. The overturned conviction lead to his release from prison, which Rose said has been understandably a difficult time for the survivor community.

"I just want to encourage everyone who may have been triggered by the events of the last week...you are not alone, that I am with you. There are millions of survivors standing with you," Crews said.

Rose wants to remind those who may be feeling triggered that this organization serves to send the message that you are not alone and your truth matters.

She said PAVE will forever stand with those most in need of help, but more importantly, in need of hope.

"No matter what you've been through, not only is it not your fault, it's not your shame and happy, joyful life after trauma is absolutely possible," Rose said.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.