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Flying above domestic abuse

Jaden Denson, 4, holds up a butterfly that has landed on his hand Saturday at Ray Charles Plaza. Denson and his family were just a few of the many who turned out Saturday to participate in the Lily Pad's annual butterfly release ceremony to honor victims of domestic violence. To see more photos from the event, go to albanyherald.mycapture.com.

Jaden Denson, 4, holds up a butterfly that has landed on his hand Saturday at Ray Charles Plaza. Denson and his family were just a few of the many who turned out Saturday to participate in the Lily Pad's annual butterfly release ceremony to honor victims of domestic violence. To see more photos from the event, go to albanyherald.mycapture.com.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Butterflies flew free at about 11 a.m. Saturday to honor those who suffered and those who were lost to domestic abuse.

The Liberty House sponsored the Fourth Annual Butterfly Release, which drew about 100 people to Ray Charles Plaza to make the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Southwest Georgia.

"I'm just here to support the work against domestic violence," said Albany's Melissa Taylor. "There is no reason any woman should have to go through that."

Those gathered at the plaza along Front Street heard a proclamation from Albany Mayor Willie Adams read by Commissioner Christopher G. Pike.

In the proclamation, the mayor and city council said a home should be a place of comfort, relaxation and peace, not a place of violence. The proclamation honored those lost and those who survived domestic violence.

Domestic violence "is a great evil and an offense against humanity that shatters lives and robs children of their innocence," Pike said.

Many of those gathered were domestic violence survivors. A few survivors said that although the event had grown since it began four years ago, there should be more attending.

There continues to be an aura of shame that hovers over victims of domestic violence, Becky Brown said. Maybe people are concerned if they attend these events, they will be labeled, she added.

Brown has ended her life under abuse, she said. She isn't going back to that way of life and she thinks others should take heart and know they can do it too.

"There should be more people here. Domestic violence is more widespread than people realize. Maybe we can get through to woman that they don't have to live like that. I know I'm not going back to that," Brown said. "Victims or not there should be more people out here to support the eradication of domestic violence."