Take Back the Night is a march through downtown Auburn that provides an opportunity for victims of sexual abuse to tell their stories on Cater Lawn, said Ellis Diment, senior in communication and co-chair of the event.
“We carry our signs, and we march and chant through the downtown streets of Auburn, and that is part of the awareness campaign,” said Carrie Kilpatrick, diversity initiatives coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center.
Police Chief Tommy Dawson, SGA President Kirby Turnage and artist and activist Teresa Rodriguez are the scheduled speakers.
Victims of sexual assault are invited to share their stories by speaking or having a friend read their story, Kilpatrick said.
“You get to come and hear a lot of cool experiences and participate in a hugely emotional thing,” Kilpatrick said.
The main focus of the night is for victims to be able to speak out about their experiences.
“For victims, this is important for their healing process because they are around people who also have a story,” said Finley Hurth, sophomore in human development and family studies and co-chair for SAAM, who helped plan the event. “They are able to talk freely about their experiences in a safe environment.”
Take Back the Night is the culminating event of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Diment and Kilpatrick said Take Back the Night is their favorite event because of its symbolism.
“I think it is an important issue, and I feel like people need to be more aware about it and that people aren’t really aware of how prevalent it is,” Diment said.
Statistics show that one in four college-aged women will be sexually assaulted in some way—3,070 women on Auburn’s campus, Hurth said.
Take Back the Night is also an opportunity to spread awareness to men and teach them ways to prevent sexual assault.
“We are taking back our lives and our security, and we’re standing up to say this is not right, and we won’t be fearmongers anymore,” Kilpatrick said.
A candlelight vigil will be held for all those affected by any type of assault.
“This event is the opportunity for victims and friends of victims to show support and spread awareness for something that deeply affects peoples’ lives,” Hurth said.
Take Back the Night will start April 21 at 6:30 p.m. on Cater Lawn.