September 27, 2011

Preview: Take Back the Night

By Morgan Cordary–

Domestic and sexual violence against women has become a very important issue addressed by those who wish to see a change in the frequency of such incidents.

A variety of organizations have emerged in the Louisville area in an effort to combat these types of abuse by increasing awareness and urging changes in the attitudes and actions of men.

One such association is Louisville’s own MensWork: Eliminating Violence Against Women, Inc., formed in 2007 by a small collective of men, including University of Louisville’s Women & Gender Studies lecturer Rus Funk. He quotes the MensWork tag line in order to better explain their philosophy saying, “Domestic and sexual violence will end when men stop doing it – and it is men’s work to get men to stop doing it.”

Along with its fellow violence-prevention organizations, MensWork aims to abolish forms of violence such as rape, sexual harassment and assault, dating abuse, domestic violence and sex trafficking.

Through talking and engaging with them about these issues, they help other men to take an active role and become more effective in their oppositions of violence toward women.

Students can also support the preventative cause via the Men of PEACC, a university-affiliated organization which works with the existing PEACC center to raise awareness about sexual and relationship abuse.

They focus on how to avoid such situations and educate men about the realities of violence toward women, especially incidents surrounding college life. Men of PEACC stand with MensWork emphasizing male leadership roles in preventing the many different forms of violence and their sources.

Additionally, PEACC offers counseling to victims of sexual assault. To become involved with Men of PEACC or the main PEACC organization, email [email protected]

Eric Kleppe, a senior Sociology major involved with Men of PEACC, said of the event, “Take back the Night is a yearly speak-out and rally held around the world as a form of resistance against sexual violence. As a male-identified person, I feel ashamed that members of my sex are the ones perpetrating this kind of violence, while I have the privilege of traveling alone at night without fear of being a victim.

“Nobody deserves to feel unsafe in their own communities, just as nobody ever deserves to experience sexual violence. As men it is our responsibility to join women in the struggle towards the elimination of power-based violence and to support survivors, regardless of how they express their sexuality or gender. Since Sexual Violence impacts our entire community, its elimination is dependent on the work of the entire community.”

U of L’s annual Take Back the Night event brings together organizations and interested individuals with the common goal of protesting violence toward women.

The event serves to break silence and shatter ignorance surrounding chosen issues. The theme for this year’s TBTN is “Week Without Violence,” a global movement in which women are made to feel safe and free of threat from sexual and domestic violence.

Both MensWork and PEACC will be present and participating in protest and educational events. Take Back the Night will be held at the Red Barn from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27. All students are encouraged to attend and support the cause.

[email protected]
Photo: Caitlin Williams/The Louisville Cardinal

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