Take Back the Night set to combat sexual violence

Take Back the Night, an event sponsored by the Women’s Center and Residence Life to aid in the fight against rape, domestic and sexual violence, will be held Oct. 23. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Amphitheater.

The Clothesline Project will be held Oct. 20 and 22, the same week as Take Back the Night.

The organization that created Take Back the Night began decades ago in Europe, when women from different countries came together as a tribunal council to discuss women’s safety walking in public streets. Since the ‘70s, events focusing on eliminating sexual and domestic violence of all types, have taken place in the U.S.

“Take Back the Night is a national program, it’s not just a local thing,” said Emily Kelley, coordinator of the Women’s Center. “It has a lot to do with rape victims and it has to do with the night being a symbol of darkness and fear. Taking back the night has to do with taking back your power, especially having to do with rape victims, whose power has been taken from them.”

Sophomore Marcus Bizzelle said he supports the event and plans to attend, if possible.

Take Back the Night has a significant impact on campus, said senior Ashley White.

“I think overall (Take Back the Night) is important to so many people on our campus just to feel justified,” she said. “It’s also essential for the people on campus who downplay the seriousness of what the event is about or have no idea that it isn’t just a myth.”

The Clothesline Project is an event created to combat domestic violence. The event gives people an outlet to vent by writing messages on shirts that are hung around the amphitheater during Take Back the Night, Kelley said.

“We do the two hand-in-hand,” Kelley said. “We hang T-shirts up all around the amphitheater. I encourage people to do it to exorcise any of their demons.”

Take Back the Night will include various speakers from University Counseling Services and Rape Response, with Carl Gebhardt, adjunct professor of history and religion, as the final speaker of the night.

“He (Gebhardt) is a retired minister and he has a tremendous amount of experience in this field,” Kelley said. “He really has respect for all religions and I don’t want this to be any one religion. I know Carl will honor that and won’t make it about any religion.”

Information resource tables will be set up around the event by the Infinity Project, SAFE, Safe Place, Rape Response, Campus Health Services, counseling services, and Title IX.

Entertainment will be provided by alumna Madeline Frankford and student Brady Lunsford, with a candlelight vigil and a non-sectarian meditation led by Gebhardt to close out the event, Kelley said.