The Office of Compliance, Conduct & Inclusion will hold its fifth annual ‘Take Back the Night’ event on Wed. April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cantrell Banquet Hall. Other campus organizations helping with this event include Greek life, NSLS, UVa-Wise athletics, Safer and SGA.
‘Take Back the Night’ is an event that has been around for decades. Events from the ‘Take Back the Night’ foundation started in as early as the 1960s. The foundation’s mission is to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence. There are currently 36 countries participating in this event and over 30 million people have been reached.
Tabitha Smith, the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at UVa-Wise highlights the importance of ‘Take Back the Night’.
“We always do ‘Take Back the Night’ in April because April is Sexual Assault Awareness month,” said Smith. “It’s a unique event because it is empowering but moving at the same time, because it is to empower people to use their voice, but then it’s also moving when we do the vigil for the people who have lost their life to domestic violence.”
Last year’s ‘Take Back the Night’ event included a welcome portion from UVa-Wise students, history of the ‘Take Back the Night’ event and a speaker who was a survivor. The event featured the national organization ‘Fear to Freedom’, in which kits were made by students and employees present and sent to Norton Community Hospital and the Hope House. Some kits were left on campus.
“The kits included a change of clothes and personal hygiene products,” Smith said. “They were for sexual assault survivors, no matter what gender, because if you go to a hospital and have a forensic perp kit done, they take everything. Survivors are given that so they have clothes to leave in.”
Events scheduled for this year include a keynote speaker, educational displays, the march and candlelight vigil. Chancellor Henry will lead the march as she does every year.
This year, those present at the ‘Take Back the Night’ event can help in assembling Cavs Care Kits. These kits are our own kits that are made possible thanks to SGA and NSLS.
The Cavs Care Kits will be assembled for the Southwest Virginia Child Advocacy Center, which is in Big Stone Gap, VA. There are 150 kits waiting to be assembled.
The Southwest Virginia Advocacy Care center serves around 150-200 new children each year who have experienced some sort of abuse such as sexual abuse or domestic assault in the home.
“The kit will have toothbrush, toothpaste, stickers, a journal and a stuffed animal,” Smith said. This kit will give back to the community.
This year’s keynote speaker is Anne Munch. Munch is an attorney who is a career prosecutor and advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Munch will also be giving a lecture in Cantrell Banquet Hall on April 11 at 1 p.m. in the Cantrell Banquet Hall.
Any students who are interested in helping with ‘Take Back the Night’ event are welcomed to help. For those interested, contact Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with ‘Take Back the Night’, there will be different events held throughout the week of April 9-13 for Sexual Assault Awareness week.