FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – IPFW students and supporters marched around campus in protest of sexual assault and violence.
Taking to the streets to bring awareness about date rape. That’s what students and supporters were doing on the IPFW campus Wednesday night as part of the "Take Back the Night" protest.
“Take Back the Night” began in 1975 in Philadelphia when a woman was stabbed to death when walking home late at night. The community rallied together to protest the violence. Since, it has turned into is an international event where people take a stand against sexual assault and violence against women. The Women’s Studies department at IPFW decided to take their own stand.
It was an emotional night as a guest speaker, Candice Hall, a clinical counselor for the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau, shared her story for the first time of being raped by a classmate 12 years ago.
“It's a hard thing to do because it's taken me a really long time,” said Hall. “For me, it is just seeing the people that are supportive in this community and that want to protect people that have been through this and stop it from happening again. In order for that to take place, we need people, men and women, to step forward and say they’re not going to tolerate sexual assault.”
Several students, male and female, also told their stories for the first time of their experiences of being sexually assaulted. Sydney Monday, 11, came to the event with her mother, Melody who is a Women’s Studies major. Sydney said she was surprised at how many people are rape victims.
“You might not think that it happens that much, but I realized today that it does happen a lot and that it’s real,” said Sydney.
According to takebackthenight.org, one in six American women has been a victim of rape in their lifetime—that's approximately 17.7 million women. As a symbol of their support to stop violence and sexual assault, they marched a half-mile around campus, chanting with signs, in protest.
Sydney says this experience has taught her a valuable lesson for her future.
“I learned that sometimes rape is unexpected and you can’t control it. It shows me that I have to be aware a lot, like of who I hang out with and what I do,” Sydney said.
Melody Monday says that’s why it’s important to have events like these, to inform people.
“I feel like tonight was a really really important event for any woman, for any man, to come out and hear other people’s stories,” Melody said.
Hall agrees, and says to many people, rape is still “taboo,” and therefore can be unsupportive toward rape victims. She says talking about it can help, and the march not only represented a community stance, but also support.
“Just having that support system and taking that first step to tell somebody about it, and knowing no matter what situation you're in or what ever you were doing, it is never ever the victim's fault,” said Hall.
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