Third annual ‘Take Back the Night’ gives victims a voice

April 6, 2015

Evan Musick
emusick@uccs.edu

On April 3, Respect on Campus held their third annual “Take Back the Night” event.

ROC has been on campus for five years, explained Carrie Finkill, Violence Education and Victim Service Coordinator. ROC, funded through the Office of Violence against Women and the Department of Justice, looks to raise awareness about sexual violence, stalking and dating violence.

“We use ‘Take Back the Night’ for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is April,” said Finkill. “We use it as an opportunity to bring some students together and talk about sexual violence.”

In addition to classes, Finkill said that ROC brings groups such as Dean of Students, Counseling Center and the Health Center together to discuss how to implement sexual assault prevention on campus.

The event was free and began with Terry Schwartz, associate vice chancellor for Academic and Faculty Affairs, previewed the events of the evening.

Next, a short video of students and faculty members explaining the importance of combating victim blaming was shown.

The main event consisted of guest speakers from TESSA, an organization that stands against intimate partner violence, and students at UCCS standing up to share their experiences with sexual assault and the healing processes they are going through.

The event concluded with its traditional march across campus, chanting words of resilience and rebellion for those who have been victims of sexual assault.

Finkill explained that about half the time after events such as “Take Back the Night,” someone will stay behind and discuss either an issue either they or a friend is having.

Amy Bunn, who spoke at the event, is currently working on her Master’s degree at UCCS. She believes that talking about her experiences is important, as it provides courage for others.

“Really, it’s because I had no one. And I think that it helps if people know that there are people out there that can help, and that there are these places [ROC] on campus,” Bunn said.

She also shared her thoughts on blaming the victim of sexual assault and not the perpetrator.

“It’s really frustrating to me when I see these things happening to other people, and they’re on the news and they say the victim, and not the perpetrator,” Bunn said. “And it is the perpetrator. They’re the one who committed the crime.”

Bunn added that sexual assault needs to be treated as a regular crime.

For more information on ROC or Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/UCCSROC.