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Take Back the Night
By Stephanie Fleming
April 23, 2010
The second annual “Take Back the Night” event was hosted by the Women’s Coalition at Lock Haven University on Monday April 19 at 7 p.m. in front of Russell Hall.
Faculty and members of the Women’s Coalition gave speeches and shared personal stories of domestic violence to students. Afterwards, the Coalition led the students on a walk around campus on Ivy Lane to commemorate the victims and survivors of sexual violence.
“The Women’s Coalition hosted the ‘Take Back the Night’ (TBTN) event in order to encourage local participation in the global campaign to end sexual violence,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gruber, the faculty advisor to the Women’s Coalition.
“The Women’s Coalition reaches out to both women and men by hosting events that raise awareness for issues that are often too sensitive to talk about,” said Tierney Ulmer, a sophomore and a member of the Women’s Coalition. “We are also available for people to come talk to us and we do what we can to help them find the help and resources they need.”
The executive members of the Lock Haven University Women’s Coalition are President Jen Alles, Vice President Jessica Payne, Treasurer Erica Helman and Secretary Ramona Lane. The other student members are Tiffany Ulmer, Tierney Ulmer, Renee Goranson, Wesley Toth and Nikkita Bechdel.
“I hope that events like Take Back the Night make students aware of the fact that they shouldn’t have to be afraid to be out at night,” said Tiffany Ulmer. “If a young woman is walking alone at night, she is not asking for sexual assault or rape, she has the right to do so and should not be afraid of predators. I think our school community needs to take sexual assault and rape more seriously and I hope events like this make them more aware of the issues that surround them.”
According to the Department of Justice, on average, in the United States a woman is raped every two minutes.
“About TBTN, I have the same message to women and men: let’s work together to combat the realities of sexual violence,” said Gruber. “After all, the grim statistics provided by the Department of Justice warn that all of us know someone who has been victimized. Let’s do what we can to help her.”
“Take Back the Night” began on March 4 – 8, 1976 in Brussels, Belgium. Two thousand women representing forty countries attended at The International Tribunal on Crimes against Women. That event was the first documented Take Back the Night march. It was a candlelight procession through the streets of Brussels.
Gruber is the Director of the HOPE Center, and the chair of its advisory board. Board members also include: Dr. Nicole Burkholder-Mosco; Dr. Laurie Cannady; Dr. Gayatri Devi; Dr. Tara Mitchell; and Dr. Lisette Schillig. All of the board members are from the English Department at Lock Haven University, except for Dr. Mitchell, who is a member of the Psychology Department.
The mission of the HOPE Center was originally to be a resource and a conduit to resources for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, or intimate-partner violence, according to Gruber.
However, with the establishment of the Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP), which is funded by a federal grant, the primary mission of the HOPE Center has changed.
The HOPE Center now focuses on serving the campus community by hosting events such as poetry readings, lectures, film screenings, and brown-bag discussion of issues pertaining to gender and social equity.
The HOPE Center is located in East Campus in room G-204. The use of resources such as books, films and other educational materials are open to the public. The center is also available to student groups who host events or sponsor programs related to the mission of the HOPE Center.
“’Take Back the Night’ gives us—all of us, male and female—the opportunity to understand how wide-spread this problem is, and to transform our knowledge into action. Speaking can be a powerful act, but so can listening,” said Gruber. “TBTN encourages all of us to be mindful of what others have endured. But I do want to emphasize that a key goal of TBTN is to help victims feel more empowered. Optimism about the future, and not despair over the past, is the driving impetus of TBTN.”