K-State to host Take Back the Night event to fight against violence, rape

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K-State students and faculty, as well as campus guests, will gather today in Bosco Plaza at 8 p.m. for Take Back The Night, an annual, national event to raise awareness and education about domestic violence.

“Take Back the Night is basically a way for people to be able to stand up for nonviolence, attacking the problem at the base,” said Ellen Ludwig, senior in fine arts and event organizer for Take Back the Night. “It’s a way for people to voice their opinion about violence and rape.”

Starting in Bosco Plaza, students will be audience to a range of speakers on domestic violence.

“This year, we’re having a woman who has gone through some domestic violence, and she’s going to speak on how it affected her and how she’s dealt with it,” Ludwig said.

After the presentation, participants plan to march through Aggieville to spread awareness of their cause.

“We go around Aggieville, the general area where a lot of people do feel unsafe, especially at night,” Ludwig said. “We go march in the streets, basically telling people, ‘We’re here, we’re taking back this night, we’re taking back every night that we’ve been hit by domestic violence.'”

Schools and community organizations across the nation have taken part in annual Take Back the Night events for years. Mary Todd, director of the K-State Women’s Center, said that the first Take Back the Night was originally held in honor and remembrance of a victim of violence.

The first Take Back The Night event in the US was in Philadelphia in 1975,” Todd said in an email interview. “Citizens rallied together after Susan Alexander Speeth was stabbed to death near her home.”

Ludwig said she hopes this year’s event will help honor and remember victims, as well as aid current students.

It’s something that I feel is empowering, especially with the march and the chants we do. It’s a way for people to fight back, in some way, and to tell people that it’s still out there,” Ludwig said. “There could be someone in the audience who has been or is going through domestic violence or rape.”

The turnout for the event has ranged from several dozen to hundreds of people in past years. Todd said that she hopes the weather and activities bring people in.

“I hope there will be a great turnout,” Todd said. “There is a band playing after the march so students who really like music should join us.”

This year will continue the new tradition of men marching alongside women through Aggieville. Ludwig said that men and women began marching together just last year.

“It’s not just women who are hit with domestic violence, and we realized that our march needed to change because of that,” Ludwig said.

Take Back the Night is open for all students and community members to attend.

“Violence against others is a moral and cultural failing,” Todd said. “Never be a silent bystander.”

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