February 22, 2019

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Takes Back the Night March 4

VALDOSTA — Believing that no one should fear the night, or the day, Valdosta State University will Take Back the Night at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 4, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, and friends of Blazer Nation are invited to attend and help shatter the silence and stop the violence by standing up and speaking out.

Take Back the Night will feature Katie Koestner, an activist and sexual assault survivor.

Koestner was in her first year of college when she went on a date with a fellow student and was forced to have sex. The year was 1990 and people still thought rape only happened at the hands of a stranger. The concept of “date rape” was unknown. 

“I’m not going to say which is worse, being grabbed by a stranger off the road and you’re lucky if you live or being out with someone you think you can trust, who has all the makings of your Prince Charming, and having them disrespect you completely,” she told BBC News Magazine in 2016. “If I had been raped on a street, then I’d have been afraid of strangers, but if you’re raped by someone you know, then you’re afraid of everyone.”

Take Back the Night’s history 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, Calif., and the murdering of women of color in Los Angeles, Calif., according to the Take Back the Night Foundation. Two years later, a march was held in Philadelphia, Pa., 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.

VSU’s Take Back the Night is sponsored by VSU’s Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force, Office of the Dean of Students, Counseling Center, Campus Recreation, and Housing and Residence Life, as well as 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 Daryl Lowe, assistant vice president and dean of students for Student Affairs, dalowe@valdosta.edu or (229) 333-5941 to learn more.

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