Domestic abuse is a real problem, and the annual Take Back the Night will once again attempt to increase student awareness of the issue. The event will be held October 20 at 7 p.m. in the Johnson Center Dining Room.
“The topic for this year is bystander training, which specifically pertains to students because anyone can be a bystander of domestic violence. We’re [going to] pick scenarios that could happen on campus,” said Megan Lee, senior social work major, co-president of the social work club and member of the Take Back the Night planning committee.
Karen Able Jepson of the Domestic Violence project will share and educate students. Jepson will teach students how to handle domestic violence as a bystander in a variety of realistic situations.
“I think that it is important for students to be aware that domestic violence doesn’t necessarily just happen between a husband and a wife and their house. You could witness domestic violence in the Walmart parking lot,” Lee said.
The event will expand beyond the evening this year.
According to Lee, the committee plans to place pinwheels in the front lawn of the Johnson Center. Participants will grab a pinwheel at the event and use it as a reminder to pray for victims of domestic abuse after Take Back the Night.
According to Jane Hoyt-Oliver, professor of social work, the event is an opportunity to discuss a difficult topic in a safe environment.
“If we’re a community, and especially a community of faith, we need to be proactive about caring for one another and not to sugar coat situations that might occur and to know what to do if we are in a situation where we see violence occurring or we know that there might be some kind of difficult situation,” said Hoyt-Oliver.
A solution to domestic abuse will require cooperation, and Take Back the Night represents a partnership committed to the cause.
“Take Back the Night is an event that happens all across the country,” Hoyt-Oliver said. “It was actually designed to make a political statement about the need for women to be able to feel safe when they are walking in the evening.”
According to Hoyt-Oliver, this is truly a community event that states an intolerance for domestic violence.
“We can work together around the issue of relationship violence,” Hoyt-Oliver said. “There’s plenty to learn.”
Although abuse is a heavy topic, Hoyt-Oliver said the evening is usually a fun learning environment.
Take Back the Night is an opportunity for students to learn more about all forms of domestic abuse. Last year the event covered abuse of men to combat the idea only women face domestic abuse. The issue is much wider than most people’s understanding.
According to the domestic abuse project, domestic abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, financial and environmental. While dating abuse is more common, abuse can also happen between friends and coworkers.
Cathy Weyand is a Staff Writer for The Aviso