By Kyra Smith-Cullen
April 11, 2013
LHU’s HOPE Center will be hosting it’s fifth annual “Take Back the Night” event on the steps of Price Auditorium on April 17 at 7 pm.
The first “Take Back the Night” was held just two months after the Hope Center opened in 2009 and attendance at the program has only grown each year since. The event is held to raise awareness about sexual violence and its impact on the freedom and well-being of women and men.
Guests from LHU Public Safety, Clinton County Women’s Center and other departments will be speaking at the event. There will also be an open mic time where members of the audience are invited to share their personal stories.
“The sad fact is, we’ve heard far too many stories of sexual assault in the news these past few months,” said Lisette Schillig, an English professor and Director of the HOPE center. “These stories are a sobering reminder of just how vocal we still need to be about ending sexual violence, and ending the silence that typically surrounds it.”
Following the speakers and open mic, there will be a candlelight march through campus and surrounding Lock Haven streets.
“The march is symbolic, but it’s also a powerful visual way of joining together to reclaim the night so that our campus and our city streets are safe for all persons to walk,” Schillig said. “We need to be vocal, and so I hope all attendees will be ready to chant, carry signs and lock arms together.”
“Take Back the Night” is an international event, sometimes known as “Reclaim the Night”, that began in Philadelphia in 1975. Since then, it has spread to Australia, Canada, India, England and other European countries.
If weather does not allow for the event to be held outdoors, the program will be moved to Ulmer Planetarium.
“It was inspirational to see how many people could live through traumatic events like rape and abusive relationships,” said Cheleya Scott, a sophomore communication major who attended 2012’s event. “The fact that the speakers were able to speak openly about their hardships is remarkable and I’m sure that other victims that aren’t able to speak out don’t feel as alone now.”