Students, faculty and locals gathered outside Sherman Hall for the 22nd annual Take Back the Night March and Rally. TBTN is about awareness, empowerment and the chance to visibly fight against sexual violence.
"The most sexual assaults that happen are on college campuses, and about 72 percent has to do with alcohol," said Kelsey Harrington, the graduate assistant and chair of TBTN who helped organize the event. "This is a huge issue on college campuses because women between the age of 18-24 are the most often victims and survivors of sexual assault and other types of interpersonal violence."
Participants came together in a circle to get informed about sexual violence to begin the event. There were tables set up by the Office of Public Safety, the Beu Health Center and many other organizations to help educate and help prevention of this issue. Survivors spoke to the crowd.
This march and rally is held during October as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"What we want to do is prevent these things from happening," Harrington said. "If we prevent these things from happening, then the problem will be solved, but there are resources available in case people are victims or know people who are victims of sexual violence."
They then began to march through campus toward Chandler Park, where the rally came to a close. Candles outlined the events path, which went up Adams Street towards Johnson and then into the Square.
This event, which started as a protest rally against pornography during the women's movement in the 1970s, has turned into a national event. Even though TBTN goes around all over the world, Western's campus is the biggest TBTN march and rally in Illinois.
"There are not many things like this anywhere else, so I think people should take advantage of this event and come for either support or to better educate themselves," said senior social work major Mary Lee.
This event is sponsored by the WIRC-CC Victim Services Agency and the Western Women's Center, with support from the University Counseling Center, the OPS and local police and numerous other campus and community offices, agencies and organizations.
"I do not want any women to be scared of the college environment or walk down the street alone; but knowing there are resources available for prevention is always helpful to college women, just an overall awareness of protection," Harrington said.