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The UIS Women’s Center and Residence Life hold an annual event in order to raise awareness for sexual assault. Entering its 10th year at UIS, the Take Back the Night event will be held on Friday, April 28. At the event, students gather to read poetry in support of sexual assault survivors.
Take Back the Night is an international event and a non-profit organization whose mission is to end sexual, relationship, and domestic violence. Marches and events have been around since the early 1970s in the United States, and have spread to other countries.
Hundreds of events are held in more than 30 countries every year, often consisting of marches, rallies, and vigils where sexual assault survivors and their allies can gather in support of one another and to raise awareness of the issue.
The Women’s Center and Residence Life hold this event at UIS each year to help raise awareness for sexual assault, specifically on college campuses. The event is timely, as April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, more than 11 percent of all undergraduate and graduate college students experience rape or sexual assault.
Among undergraduate students, 23.1 percent of females and more than 5 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault. Only 20 percent of female college students report the crime to law enforcement.
Studies have also found that students are at an increased risk of sexual assault in their first few months of college, with more than 50 percent of all college sexual assaults occurring in August, September, October, and November.
The Women’s Center also holds a Ten Paper Cranes to Heal the Violence event to honor and support victims of sexual violence. Cranes made by students will be displayed at the Take Back the Night event.
Students wishing to attend Take Back the Night are encouraged to wear teal, the official color of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and for the event.
“We are using a heart graphic this year and ‘Be the Change’ as a motto because of my feeling that we have to return to the heart of the matter – core values and motivations – and we have to change, each of [us] deeply within ourselves – or the changes in laws and civic verbiage become easily co-opted by what I call a ‘new mask on an old devil’,” said Lynn Otterson, director of the Women’s Center, about the slogan and symbol for the event.
The event kicks off at dusk on Friday, April 28 at the colonnade in the center of campus. For more information about the event, please contact the Women’s Center by phone (217) 206-7173, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Women’s Center page on Facebook.