The University of Idaho’s 2011 Take Back the Night event held Thursday September 29 in the Agricultural Science auditorium drew a crowd of around 200 students, staff and Moscow citizens.
The event is held annually at the university—and hundreds of locations around the world—with the mission of ending sexual violence in all forms. This year’s TBTN was especially poignant due to the tragedy that occurred at the start of the semester, and the march was dedicated to former UI student Katy Benoit, whose life was lost as a result of a violent relationship. Continue reading →
Over 300 people marched against violence on Thursday for the University of Idaho’s annual Take Back the Night. Marchers carried signs, and many smiled while they chanted.
Lysa Salsbury, the program coordinator for the Women’s Center and an organizer for this event, said that Take Back the Night is designed to be an empowering statement for women and other marginalized groups to demand their right to safety.
“It’s just promoting the idea that people should feel safe to move freely without fear of attack,” Salsbury said.
Here are some of the voices from the event:
She said the march also functioned as a way to encourage survivors of assault to use their voice. That’s why, by the end of the march, people were encouraged to give testimonies about their personal experiences with assault. Several people did get up and tell their stories – demanding an end to sexual violence, and demonstrating solidarity.
“I’m in awe, and touched and moved that so many people came up on the stage and talked about what happened to them,” she said.
Salsbury said she wanted the march to create an awareness that would encourage bystander intervention “against a culture that still accepts or trivializes assault.”
On my first day at the University of Idaho, I went to orientation at the Kibbie Dome with two of my female friends. We sat through several minutes of genial welcomes and introductions before being shown a video on what to expect in our time at the university. We were told that in our four years here, one in every four women and one in every five men present would be a victim of sexual assault or attempted assault.
Lysa Salsbury, Program Coordinator at the Women’s Center, said that number has dropped over the years to only one in every five women on college campuses. This is due in large part to the collaborative efforts of universities and government institutions to create better reporting and response systems. Vice President Joe Biden announced a new sexual assault awareness campaign that he hopes will help to end sexual violence on college campuses, and not just against women.
“If we are going to have a safe and inclusive campus, we need to encompass all violence,” Salsbury said. “There is now a broader representation (to include) violence against any group that is targeted because of their identity.”
There are various organizations present on campus that educate students about sexual violence. The Dean of Students’ Violence Prevention Program, B.E.A.R. and the Women’s Center all provide information on sexual assault awareness. In fact, an entire month of the year has been devoted to fighting sexual assault all across America. Continue reading →