By HALEY CASTILLO
The Kennesaw State University Student Taskforce on Interpersonal Violence and the Women’s Resource Center co-hosted the annual Take Back The Night event on April 17, from 7-9 p.m. on the university campus green to raise awareness about sexual violence.
The crowded campus green was populated by KSU faculty, staff and students eager to learn about the definition of sexual violence, its psychological effects and ways to reduce the risk of interpersonal violence.
Take Back The Night is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about the growing issue of sexual assault and violence. For over 35 years, the event’s main focus has been to eliminate sexual violence in all forms, for all genders.
According to the event’s official website, “at least one out of every three women has been beaten, forced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime by a partner, relative, friend, stranger, employer, and/or colleague.” The TBTN’s official motto is “Shatter the silence. Stop the violence.”
A University Involved
The event held at KSU was co-hosted by the Student Taskforce on Interpersonal Violence and the Women’s Resource Center, two organizations at KSU dedicated to the psychological well-being of students.
Director of the Women’s Resource Center, Emily Ramirez, works to provide the support and resources needed by students who have fallen victim to interpersonal violence, and thinks this event is a perfect way to get the word out about sexual violence.
“One event will not change rape culture, but it starts the conversation,” Ramirez said in an email. “People are moved by this event, because someone else was brave and stood up and told them their story.”
The event at KSU featured several guest speakers including a member of the Kennesaw State Police Department, a local high school sophomore activist, and several survivors of sexual violence.
At the conclusion of the final speaker, the event hosted an “open-mic survivor speak out” session, during which sexual violence survivors within the audience were encouraged to tell their stories of survival to the crowded campus green.
Junior psychology and criminal justice major Tara Latimer was shocked to see that several of her peers were survivors of sexual violence, and was moved by many of their stories.
“I really loved that they opened up the mic for survivors to speak out,” Latimer said. “That part really allowed reality to sink in; that this happens every day to people I know. It’s not some far-away problem.
A Time to Reflect
The event ended with a candlelight procession to the university’s housing residence, University Village. During this procession, attendees were able to reflect on the information learned and stories heard throughout the duration of the event.
When the procession reached its destination, light refreshments were provided while the faculty, staff and students in attendance were encouraged to talk among their peers about the issues of sexual violence.
Junior exercise health and science major Leslie Wade thinks that the event was very emotional and eye opening.
“Most people, including myself, aren’t aware of how many women are sexually abused and violated throughout their lifetime,” Wade said. “After attending this event, I feel more aware of the dangers and reality of sexual violence everywhere.”