Take Back the Night shines light on domestic violence

The Women’s Resource Center will host its annual Take Back the Night rally to end violence against women at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Denny Chimes.

Students and faculty will gather not only to march and chant, but to bring awareness to interpersonal violence, hear stories from survivors and speakers and learn how they can break stereotypes and myths related to sexual assault.

Wanda Burton, peer education coordinator for the WRC, said the main goal of the program is to actively protest with as many people as possible and teach people how to be active bystanders.

(See also "Rallying to Take Back the Night")

“I think that it is important to speak to those people who have been assaulted but have not disclosed or reported it,” she said. “It’s to let them know that this was not their fault and that it happens to a lot of other people.”

Burton said she hopes attendees will gain the tools necessary to help them be more involved in assault situations and that more people will become aware of their surroundings and know how to help others in need.

Jessi Hitchins, assistant director for the WRC, said the march is all about making women and others feel comfortable no matter what situation they are in.

“We should be safe in any scenario,” Hitchins said. “So we don’t have to worry about who we are walking next to or what time of the day it is.”

(See also "WRC to host ‘Take Back the Night’")

Hitchins said the symbolic meaning of Take Back the Night is to change what people think about the meaning of night, particularly the fact that most think of it as a time when someone is likely to be attacked. She said she is most looking forward to being involved in the chant, since she doesn’t always get the opportunity to be that outspoken.

“That for me is always really important because it’s loud, and it’s very specific and it’s calling out what we demand,” Hitchins said.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Matt Gregory, associate dean and director of student advocacy & accountability at LSU, who will touch on the role of men in sexual violence. His lecture is titled “Male Advocacy Against Sexual Violence: The Tale of the Iron Man.”

There will also be a reading of “Poem to a Survivor” by Christine Black, a UA graduate in the creative writing MFA program.

“We always try to have a performance piece or some type of creative space,” Burton said. “For some people, they want the facts. Other people need to hear a story from a survivor, and it speaks to people on a very personal level.”

In case of rain, Take Back the Night will be relocated to Smith Hall.

(See also "Students ‘take back the night’")

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