STUDENTS MARCH AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE
NDSU hosts annual Take Back the Night event on campus
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 13:09
NDSU students and staff are set to host the third annual Take Back the Night event on campus. The event involves students and faculty members marching across campus to raise awareness about sexual violence in the NDSU community.
This event is organized by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy Program of Department of Student Life at NDSU. Other departments like Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead, Equity and Diversity Center at NDSU, NDSU Department of Women and Gender Studies and Residence Life are also helping out with the event.
Take Back the Night is modeled upon a similar international event held worldwide since 1976, when it was first started in Belgium.
During the march, students and staff members hold signs and chant slogans as they march from Festival Concert Hall to the Memorial Union. Last year a sign said, “My mini dress does not mean yes.” The rally starts at 7 p.m. and concludes with a candle light vigil in support of survivors of sexual violence.
The event this year also includes a “Needs Drive” for YWCA Cass Clay. Volunteers are encouraged to bring an item or two to donate. The turnout at the event has seen a dramatic increase every year as college students are more aware and involved.
According to World Bank statistics around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Three years ago some students and faculty members decided that sexual abuse is a grim reality on college campuses and NDSU needs to bring this event home to raise awareness on the issue.
Assistant Director for Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy (SAPA) Sarah Dodd said, “It is a time for the campus to come together and speak out against violence. The idea is to shatter the silence around crime and show support for survivors.”
SAPA also organized a freeze mob where volunteers froze in their place for 2 minutes from 11:55 am to 11:57 am.
“Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in U.S., hence the freeze mob was timed for two minutes,” Dodd said.
Besides TBTN, Sarah’s department also organizes prevention and advocacy programs through NDSU Violence Prevention Educators program.
This includes a peer education group of 14 members that undergo 40 hours of training.
Other prevention programs involve sessions with students taking the UNIV 189 course, members of Greek houses and NDSU athletics.
Student volunteers have also participated in Take a Stand Campaign to tackle different social norms that create a hostile environment. Sarah Dodd, along with NDSU Campus Police Officer Allen Grensteiner, also conduct 12 hours of self-defense classes once every semester.
“We can also conduct more sessions in a semester if students come forward and show interest,” explained Dodd. The next class will take place in October.
Besides this, Dodd’s department also undertakes advocacy programs that include a 24-hour Sexual Assault Resources and Advocacy (SARA) Helpline for survivors available on (701) 730-6149.
“I am happy that the student community is standing up to create a culture and environment at NDSU where sexual assault is not tolerated at all. I welcome all students to attend Take Back the Night,” she said.