Rally sheds light on domestic abuse

Both women and men took back the night at Northern Kentucky University Oct. 15 with a rally that included a candlelight walk and speeches to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Attendees to the “Take Back The Night” rally received a lavender ribbon, symbolizing the loss of women to domestic violence, and white candles to light during a walk from the University Center to Norse Commons.

Women’s studies professor Mary York and Lisa Barresi of the Women’s Crisis Center hosted the event, which commemorated National Domestic Violence Awareness month.

“Throughout the course of this week, faculty, students, and janitors have approached me and revealed their stories of domestic violence,” York said. “This does happen to ordinary people.”

“Three to four women are killed each year by domestic violence in this area alone,” Barresi told attendees. The women and men then lit their candles to commemorate this and other sobering statistics, and walked across campus in silence.

At the end of the walk, students shared stories of victims, and read graphic poems revealing the victim’s side of the crime.

“This event is to bring awareness and [demonstrate] how frequently this type of violence occurs,” said Women’s Studies student Megan Perkins.

“This has a lot of meaning to the participants, and it causes wonder in the minds of bystanders,” said Annie Dollins, a local domestic violence advocate. “We’re here to increase awareness. This violence affects men, women and children.”

Men also attended the rally to show support for the movement.

NKU student Brandon Hill said he attended a domestic violence rally in Newport three years ago, and came to this one to support the cause.

The “Take Back The Night” rally began in the 1970s in Europe, where some women were afraid to walk on city streets after dark.

The first rally was held to empower women and help them feel safe.

In 1978 the rally came to San Francisco, Cal. and spread quickly through America, according to York.

The event is held annually in cities and on campuses across the world to commemorate the loss of women to domestic violence.

It also seeks to raise awareness of the crime and provide a safe haven for victims to speak out about their experiences.

“If I could say anything to a woman being victimized by such a crime, I would tell them to seek help in counseling,” York said.

“There is a better life for all of you, and you can lead a normal life after these situations.”

The Women’s Crisis Center is located in UC 300. A 24-hour hotline is also available to all at (859) 491-3335.