By Maddy Scheel
May 4, 2016
In alignment with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, UW-Whitewater held the third annual Take Back the Night event on campus.
Take Back the Night was one of many national movements that aimed to end sexual, relationship and domestic violence.
These events were sponsored by UHCS, UW-Whitewater Police Services, Supporting a Violence-free Environment (SaVE), Association for the Prevention of Family Violence (APFV), People Against Domestic Abuse (PADA) and P.E.A.C.E.
The movement often includes rallies, support groups and marches.
The Take Back the Night event on campus also included a support system where victims told their stories and a march.
The event was finished off with a bonfire for everyone who attended.
Samantha Gutbrod, SaVE member, said this year’s event was the biggest turn out they have had over the last three years, with approximately 20 people attending.
Gutbrod described the event as “eye opening” for people who sometimes don’t realize they were sexually assaulted until they attend.
Stories were shared and tears were shed, creating a support system for victims who chose to come forward.
“Most people don’t have the opportunity to tell their stories in an environment where everyone believes them,” Gutbrod said. “A lot of people mention in their stories that they are afraid of people not believing them and victim blaming, so this really gives them the opportunity to realize they’re not alone and what happened to them is wrong.”
UHCS was represented by counselor Terry Dewalt at the event.
“I would come regardless of whether I worked in the center or not. I think it’s an important cause to help support.” Dewalt said.
Campus and Whitewater police were also in attendance for the event.
“I think it’s important for law enforcement to show survivors of sexual assault that we do care and we are here if they do choose to report. We want to see them heal as much as they want to heal.” officer Kelsey Servi said.
The Whitewater police also expressed their support and they encourage victims to report incidences.
Other groups at the event were the Association for the Prevention of Family Violence and P.E.A.C.E.
Both groups wanted to emphasize that they were there to support victims and to offer their various resources for the cause.
The march went from the University Center down to the Starin courtyard.
Participants chanted anti-date rape sayings and one participant held a poster that read “No means no” during the march.
Gutbrod said SaVE hopes to have a bigger turnout throughout the years this event is held as well as the rest of the events held in month of April.