VSU 'Takes Back the Night'

VSU 'Takes Back the Night'
(VSU photo)
(VSU photo)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta State University faculty, staff, students, and the general public are invited to "shatter the silence and stop the violence," as the school says, tonight.

Valdosta State University will 'Take Back the Night' at 6:30 p.m. this evening, in the Student Union Ballrooms. A candlelight vigil will follow at 8 p.m. Organizers say that no one should fear the night, or the day.

"Our focus this year for our 'Take Back the Night' event is to focus more on college campuses, students, and more bystander intervention; how can everybody get involved in preventing sexual assaults," said VSU Health Educator Chelsea Holcombe.

Take Back the Night will feature a keynote address by Dr. Keith E. Edwards, a scholar and educator on sexual violence prevention, men's identity, social justice education, curricular approaches, and leadership. His work centers on ending men's violence against women. 

"Dr. Keith Edwards will really resonate with our students," said Holcombe. "The White House created the Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to target the importance of changing attitudes that lead to violence. Sexual assault awareness and prevention is now focusing more on a move to a bystander intervention approach, and Dr. Edward's message and training aligns with this new movement."

Take Back the Night dates back at least half a century, to a time when women from many European countries gathered as a tribunal council to discuss safety when walking down public streets. The movement found its way to the United States in the 1970s, again emerging from a desire to make the streets a safe place at night.

 In 1973, protesters spoke out against pornography in San Francisco, and the murdering of women of color in Los Angeles.

Two years later, a march was held in Philadelphia, after the murder of Susan Alexander Speeth, a microbiologist who was stabbed to death while walking home alone.

Today, Take Back the Night focuses on ending sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse, and all other forms of sexual violence. While some events are women-only, many others include men as victims, bystanders, and supporters.

VSU's Take Back the Night is sponsored by the Office of Health Promotions, the Office of the President, and The Haven, a nonprofit organization that provides 24-hour emergency temporary shelter and services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in nine South Georgia counties.

Contact Chelsea Wells Holcombe at (229) 245-3896 or cwells@valdosta.edu for more information.

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