International event to end sexual violence coming to NKU

Karen Plunkett, Reporter

In an event that has been held nationwide since the 70’s, NKU’s Panhellenic Council and Norse Violence Prevention Center will be holding their annual Take Back the Night event that focuses on the movement to end sexual violence against women.

This type of event usually consists of a march, an opportunity for people to share their personal experience with violence and a candlelight vigil.

NKU’s Take Back the Night will be no different. On Thursday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the UC Ballroom there will be speakers, personal stories and a candlelight vigil to honor those affected by violence. This year’s theme is “Speak Out. Speak Loud. Speak Together.” The purpose is to bring together organizations, civic leaders and individuals of the NKU community to protest violence against women and to promote awareness of the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that surrounds this type of violence.

This year’s Take Back the Night will be focused on being an open supportive space for people to share what they have been through, where as last year’s focused mostly on prevention.

Jamie Sivrais, a public education specialist at the Women’s Crisis Center will be speaking at this event about hope and his own experience with sexual abuse. Sivrais is also the  president of A Voice For The Innocent, an organization focused on giving people a safe place to share their stories of sexual abuse and rape.

Gabby Molony, the coordinator of Norse Violence Prevention Center, will also be speaking about human trafficking and how to identify high-risk venues for sexual exploitation.

“We will also be talking about how here at NKU this has been the year that we have really been evaluating campus and what we’ve been doing, and how we can make it better and just trying to get people’s support to join our efforts to make campus a safer place for students,” Molony said.

There will also be a Survivor Speak Out, by two student survivors who will be sharing their personal experience and will invite other students to speak out.“

“It’s kind of like survivors not holding in what they’ve went through, speaking out and kind of  healing. Some people find that to be a healing mechanism for them, so it’s a moment for them to finally stand up and speak out about what they went through in a supportive environment like Take Back the Night, because there will be other survivors there,” Molony said.  

“The two student survivors will be up there at the podium beside them to support them through talking about their experience if students choose to do that,” Molony said.

Molony has gone to a few Take Back the Nights in Louisville and in Cincinnati, as well as NKU’s and says that she has never been to the event where no one in the audience spoke up about their own personal experience.

“It is hard but typically the people that attend, especially with the students leading it this year, I think it will be a really supportive environment and feeling like they’re not alone,” Molony said.

After the survivor speak out, there will be a walk from the University Center around the lake. Along the way participants will stop and read connections that people have written and will end the walk with a poem.

At Take Back the Night there will also be shirts displayed that students have made as part of the clothesline project to explain what a person stands for or what type of violence they have survived.

“This is a very heavy event and myself and someone from Health, Counseling and Student Wellness will be there for students if it is kind of a trigger time, because it is a hard event,” Molony said.

“I think students will be truly moved when they leave this eye-opening event. And I hope students take away the effects of sexual violence in all forms and feel inspired to create prevention by making it even more aware on NKU’s campus. I also hope that students become encouraged to use the resources that NKU has to offer,” Brittany Gragg, president of Norse Violence Prevention Center, said.