Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Event promotes assault awareness

Take Back the Night, an event promoting sexual assault awareness month, began with a protest on the quad Tuesday afternoon and ended with a series of speakers in Smith Hall.

“There is a power on this campus, and it is us,” Wen Powers, a senior majoring in musical theater, said at the event.

According to the Women’s Resource Center website, Take Back the Night is an international march and rally organized in local communities with the purpose of unifying everyone to take a stand against sexual assault. Jessi Hitchins, associate director of the Women’s Resource Center, said there were 1,264 reported victims of rape in Alabama in 2012 alone. Attendees of Take Back the Night aknowledged the victims Tuesday night with a moment of silence.

(See also “Reproductive justice must be reframed“)

Hitchins, who helped organize the event, said she wanted attendees to come away with the idea that it is our duty to come together as a community to end sexual assault and sexual violence.

“We can be the change that we want to see,” she said.

Powers explained that these instances are not isolated to one gender.

“We must remember that sexual assault is not just a problem for women,” Powers said.

He said the women and men who are affected by sexual assault are parents, children, siblings and friends, and that people must come together to help stop the violence.

“Take Back the Night is more than us just here for one night,” Powers said. “We must challenge ourselves and other men to end sexist behavior.”

According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one in five college women has been raped at some point in her life. Also, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, three percent of college women reported surviving rape or attempted rape in just one academic year.

(See also “WRC leads sexual assault awareness campaign“)

During the march, students walked around the Quad shouting chants that emphasized their cause, including, “Claim our bodies. Claim our rights. Take a stand. Take back the night.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Matt Gregory, associate dean of students and director of student advocacy and acountability at Louisiana State University, who touched on the role of men in sexual violence.

“You lose yourself in your fears and your thoughts, but it is possible to get back to normal,” Ben Fain, a sophomore majoring in marketing who attended the Take Back the Night event, said.

Another attendee of the event, Travis Hartley, a senior majoring in electrical engineering and mathematics, said the event has a great impact on the community.

“There’s empowerment from this,” Hartley said. “It’s pretty inspiring.”

Amanda Rice, a sophomore majoring in social work, echoed Fain’s sentiment, emphasizing the impact of the event and encouraging others to attend the event next year.

“I would recommend that people attend this event,” Rice said. “It was empowering.”

(See also “Lunafest films highlight women, breast cancer awareness“)

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