WMU News

Take Back the Night activities are April 9-10

April 1, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- The third annual Take Back the Night march and rally for the campus and local community will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 10, at Western Michigan University.

"Take Back the Night is a national event to protest as well as promote awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence," says Amanda Bigelow, chairperson of WMU's organizing committee.

"It serves as a symbolic celebration of women's right to be free from violence on the streets and in their homes," Bigelow explains. "It's held at this time of the year because April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month."

This year's Take Back the Night program is being sponsored by Students Addressing Gender Equality, a student organization at WMU, and Women's Resources and Services, a unit in WMU's Office of Student Activities and Leadership Programs.

The program will begin 6 p.m. in 3502 Knauss Hall and will feature speakers and entertainment. Keynote speaker will be Laura Luciano, a 1998 graduate of Rutgers University who was raped by an acquaintance just three weeks into her freshman year.

"Luciano has addressed several Take Back the Night rallies and now speaks to students on college campuses as an outgrowth of her own experience," Bigelow says. "Her courage and strength of character bring hope to not only survivors of violence, but women everywhere."

Luciano also will present a public talk, "Warrior Mark: One Woman's Story," at 3 p.m. Friday, April 9, in rooms 208 through 210 of WMU's Bernhard Center.

In this longer address, she uses the story of her rape and its aftermath as the framework for discussing what women and men can do to avoid and prevent rape, how survivors can help themselves heal, and what colleges can do to address this issue.

Entertainment at Take Back the Night will be provided by Wind-up Dolls, a five-woman feminist theatre troupe from Milwaukee, Wis. The troupe presents short skits on contemporary women's issues that are sometimes humorous, but always politically and socially enlightening.

The march, which is open only to women and survivors of violence, will start from Knauss Hall at 7:30 p.m. and end at Kanley Track. The evening will conclude with an 8 p.m. candlelight vigil. Participation in that event is for women and survivors of violence only.

"During the vigil," Bigelow says, "participants will honor the memory of Julie Cunningham, a WMU student who was murdered in 1987, as well as others who's lives and spirits have been affected by sexual or domestic violence.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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