By Shelby Brown–
Students, faculty and staff filled the Red Barn to capacity for Take Back the Night April 4. Take Back the Night aims to protest sexual and domestic violence by sharing survivor stories.
“[This is] a march to symbolize the taking back. The taking back of our lives, of the streets,” PEACC director Sally Evans said. “We have a right to be free from violence no matter who we are or where we are.”
Hosted by the Prevention, Education, and Advocacy on Campus and Community, the event started on campus in 2001. This year’s theme was “Surviving Together.”
“One of the values of Take Back the Night is that it does bring all different kinds of people together. It’s not just for survivors, though that’s a main focus,” Evans said. “I love that it brings together a lot of different folks.”
“As you go and march, support and love on one another,” U of L professor Kaila Story. “We’re all we’ve got.”
Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence shared their stories.
“The place from which I speak this evening is as a survivor,” keynote speaker Isabel Abbott said.
Organizations like U of L’s Counseling Center, the Women’s Center, Kent School of Social Work, LGBTQ Center, Planned Parenthood, Cards Speak and the Center for Women and Families presented information beforehand. SGA’s table showed their sponsorship for It’s On Us, another campaign combating sexual assault on college campuses.
Dozens of students marched through campus with signs when the program concluded.
Some students said it was their first time at a Take Back the Night, including Bree Perry.
“Families typically don’t talk about this,” Perry said. “Not because they don’t want to but some families just don’t have the language to. In high school we’re not learning what a healthy relationship looks like either. Many of us are on our own for the first time, having never heard of interpersonal power based violence.”