Domestic and sexual assault and violence are sometimes called "crimes of silence" because victims are too ashamed or afraid to report them. Nationwide events on Thursday invite participants to take a public stance against abuse.

Philadelphia's "Take Back the Night" event will have people converging from four different points in the city. It will end with a rally and candlelight vigil at the Unitarian Church on Chestnut Street.

During the rally, participants can speak out about experiences of domestic or sexual violence.

Organizer Amanda Geraci has participated in many "take back the night" rallies. For some people, she says, these occasions are the first time they ever speak about a traumatic event. "They have never told anyone something that either just recently happened to them or something that they have been holding a secret for 10, 15, 20 years," she said. "It's an incredibly emotional and empowering experience."

Geraci says victims of domestic and sexual violence often feel isolated. They may think they are the only ones who have experienced this trauma. Connecting with other victims and survivors is an important part of healing their emotional wounds.

"Take back the night" events started in the 1970s in an effort to raise awareness and empower victims. While some events across the country are for women only, the Philadelphia event is open to men and women.

The march starts at 6 p.m. at these locations:

NORTH: 22nd and Spring Garden streets

EAST: 13th and Locust streets

SOUTH: 21st Street and Washington Avenue

WEST: 34th and Chestnut streets

Participants will meet for the rally at the Unitarian Church at 21st and Chestnut streets at 6:30 p.m.