Take Back the Night participants pledge to end violence against women

November 18 2008

Purple balloons filled the sky over Indiana State University on a cold November night, symbolizing released fears and renewed hopes.

The annual Take Back the Night rally was held Monday (Nov. 17) to raise awareness about sexual assault and abuse. In addition to a march through campus, this year's event featured male leaders on campus pledging to help end violence toward women. Those leaders included fraternity members, student athletes and new Indiana State President Dan Bradley. The event was part of Bradley's installation, a week of activities centered on community engagement.

"As men, we are gathered here today to stop violence against women," Bradley said to a group assembled in Dede Plaza. "We stand before you today because we believe it is the right thing to do."

Bradley then led fraternity presidents in a pledge and lit a survivor candle as a commitment to a future without gender violence.

Cheyenne Jackson, a junior psychology major, shared her personal experiences of overcoming the grip of the "cold, uncaring hands of abuse and depression."

Standing in front a podium decorated with brightly-colored handprints and the phrase "violence affects everyone," Jackson encouraged those in attendance to seek hope.

"You can survive, you can live and you can take back the night," she said.

The keynote speaker for the event was Kristine Wilke, professor at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and advocate for women facing abuse. She shared emotional stories of women who, like Jackson, were able to overcome a violent past.

"These women created lives of safety and security for themselves and their children," Wilke said. "When I think of their courage, action and persistence, that makes my hope real."

This year's event was planned by students from associate professor Linda Maule's student activism in theory and practice (women's studies 450) course.

Analyssa Noe, a senior legal studies major and women's studies minor, helped lead the march through campus. She said the project gave her a deeper understanding the need for advocacy and the possibilities created by events like Take Back the Night.

"Violence against women is an issue that affects an entire society that allows the cycle of abuse to continue. If we don't change the culture, it won't go away," Noe said. "But if we all come together we can stand up, speak out and change the world."


Contact: Linda Maule, associate professor, Indiana State University, 812-237-2516 or lmaule@indstate.edu

Writer: Emily Taylor, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or etaylor16@indstate.edu

Photo and cutline: ISU fraternity members hold candles as they take a pledge to help end violence against women. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

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The annual Take Back the Night rally at ISU united members from across the campus community in a commitment to replace fear with hope.

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