WVU Students 'Take Back the Night' from Sexual Violence - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WVU Students 'Take Back the Night' from Sexual Violence

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MORGANTOWN -

Take Back the Night is a national event that helps empower men and women to help stop sexual violence and support survivors.

The event started close to 30 years ago and has been happening at WVU since the Center For Women Gender Studies Program began. The Gender Equality Movement, or GEM, sponsors the event.

"The elevated levels of harassment, assault, general, any kind of violence that women often face when they go out at night," said Miranda Miller, president of the Gender Equality Movement at WVU. "It's kind of in response to the fact that women should not have to fear going out by themselves, whether it be by themselves, in a group of friends, for any reason."

Speakers shared information to help women and men prevent sexual violence. Cassandra Mahoney is a prevention educator at the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center and said this information is important to know on a college campus.

"We know that one in four women will be sexually assaulted before she graduates," said Mahoney. "It's to draw attention to the issue the frequency of sexual violence but also to let people know that there's more to it than that. There's more to life than sexual violence. There's life after it."

The group marched down High Street to the Monongalia County Courthouse, chanting, "We have the power, we have the right. The streets are ours, take back the night!"

Once they arrived at the courthouse, students lit candles and held a moment of silence.

"I just think it's really important to raise awareness about this stuff because so many people are so quiet and so many people are so ashamed. And it really just speaks for those people who can't speak for themselves," said Chelsea O'Day.

They all went back to the Mountainlair for a dinner and the 'Speak Out' portion of the event. People could share their stories and get advice on how to deal with the situation.

"Survivors of sexual violence and gender violence in our society are very much marginalized and you don't often get to hear their voices or see their perspectives," Mahoney said. "So by coming to the Speak Out, you get to hear that perspective and hear those voices that are so often silenced by our society."

If you'd like to know more information about Take Back the Night or get involved, you can get in touch with the Gender Equality Movement at WVU. The meetings are open to the public every Thursday night.

The Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center is looking for volunteers. The volunteer training is in February. It trains people to be advocates and answer the crisis hotline.

Anyone who is interested in getting an application can contact the office at 304-292-5100.