ASUO Women’s Center to host 34th annual ‘Take Back the Night’ event…

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Approximately 250 students, faculty, and community members gathered on campus last year to rally and march for Take Back the Night,

an event created to raise awareness about sexual assault and prevention. (Jeff Matarrese/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Posted by Hannah Taylor on Wednesday, Apr. 24 at 2:39 pm.

For the 34th consecutive year, the ASUO’s Women Center, along with the Lane County Sexual Assault Support Service will be hosting a three-part event: Take Back the Night.

Started in 1976 in Belgium, Take Back the Night is a historic series of events demanding an end to sexual violence and assault, as well as giving the community a chance to recognize those who have survived it. It will return to the University of Oregon starting at 6 p.m. on April 25 as one of the most popular events during the UO’s Sexual Violence Prevention Week.

Various previewing events begin at 4 p.m. such as the KVAL Radio show and community tabling events at 5 p.m. The main event will begin with a rally, followed by a march and finally, a speak-out.

“The idea is to teach others who may not know about violence in general about what they can do to help and change the culture about how people view sexual assault,” said freshman Caitlin Corona, a member of the Take Back the Night planning committee. “We all have the right to feel safe in every aspect of our life and that includes being able to safely walk alone through the streets without worrying about being sexually assaulted at night. Every human being has the right to not be scared.”

The rally will allow the community to come together to promote sexual violence prevention as well as support those who have been personally affected.

“Everyone is responsible for making a difference,” said Jessica Linscott, sexual violence prevention and education coordinator graduate teaching fellow at the Women’s Center.

Special guest speakers in this year’s rally include Maure Smith-Benanti, the UO Assistant Director of LGBT Eduction and Support, and Patrick Lemmon, nonprofit co-founder of “Men Can Stop Rape” and the Radical Cheerleaders and the Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team.

“Take Back the Night is about providing a safe space for people to have their voice heard,” said Joanna Stewart, public relations officer for the ASUO’s women’s center.

The event will continue as students, faculty and devoted community members will march the streets of Eugene to demand an end to sexual violence and abuse. The march will unite the community as they walk to the beat of the UO’s drum line. To inspire and unite the march the Latino Youth Group Juventud Faceta, will lead chants in both English and Spanish.

The event will close with a “speak out” starting with a performance by Andrea Valderrama and followed by shared personal experiences surrounding sexual violence.

“I do not have a solution for the problem that our society has, but what we are here to do is stand up for our survivors, and support them for what has already happened,” said Candace Davis, a senior at the UO and volunteer at Sexual Assault Support Services. “Take Back the Night is an event we use to produce awareness that sexual violence is occurring and that as a community we will not tolerate it.”

Take Back the Night will unite the community together to fight and educate all about the reality of sexual violence and assault as well as provide survivors a place where they will be safe instead of victimized.

“Unfortunately, we live in a society that does tolerate sexual violence, for example through media and the language we continually use,” Davis said. “If you want to talk about perpetrators you need to go somewhere else, because I am here to talk about survivors.”