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Charly Haley, Published September 13 2012

‘Take Back the Night’ event promotes safety from violence

FARGO – On Thursday, North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead participated in the national movement “Take Back the Night.”

Take Back the Night is about helping women feel safe at night.

“We need to move away from a model where women have to protect themselves at night,” said Kandace Creel Falcon, MSUM women’s and gender studies professor. Instead of telling women to protect themselves, society should tell people not to attack women, she said.

MSUM’s Take Back the Night event began with a barbecue and live music by folk singer Kris Kitko, followed by a march and program with speakers and student poets.

NDSU’s program began with a student-organized educational program, followed by a march. Afterward was a candlelight vigil where people affected by violence shared their stories.

“It’s our own personal way of standing up to sex and dating violence on our campus,” said Savannah Lauf, an NDSU Take Back the Night student organizer.

She said 25 percent of NDSU students – male and female – have experienced sex or dating violence.

MSUM expanded its program to not only speak out for women, but to focus on LGBTQ violence as well.

“It’s for anyone who is different and may have to protect themselves at night,” Creel Falcon said. “That is a reality for women and people who are LGBTQ.”

Both events were open to the public.

“The purpose of Take Back the Night is to have a dedicated time for the community to come together to stand against violence and provide support for survivors of that violence,” said Sarah Dodd, NDSU’s assistant director of sexual assault prevention programs.

Each school’s event focused on raising awareness for its own students by informing about resources and statistics specific to their school.

“One reason for holding it on campus is to inform about campus resources,” said Sherri Lee Short, MSUM interim director of women’s and gender studies.

NDSU student organizer Katie Danielson said she feels like she helped raise awareness.

“I was setting up a booth, and some guy came up and asked if things like this really happen here,” she said, and she explained to him that it does.

Although each school’s event was separate, they had the events on the same night to show solidarity, Dodd said.

Take Back the Night’s national campaign started in the 1970s, and MSUM student Beatriz Castro doesn’t see it ending any time soon.

“A lot of people think the movement has stopped,” Castro said. “We’re not equal yet. It’s not the end of the movement. There is still progress to be done.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311


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