EVENT DATE: Apr 12, 2012
HOURS PLEDGED: 100,000,000
Mileage Tracker: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000
When I first found out that my mom had escaped an abusive relationship, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe somebody would have ever thought to hurt my mom. I would have been equally dumbfounded if I had known that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.1 Soon, my disbelief turned to sadness, and eventually to anger. Instead of internalizing that anger, however, I decided to do something about it. I was going to help other women leave their abusers. I was going to help them survive.
When I got to the University of Georgia in the fall of 2008, I joined the Women’s Studies Student Organization. I wanted to keep true to my promise to help women, and I had heard great things about the organization. That’s when I found out about Take Back the Night.
Take Back the Night is an annual, international event that raises awareness against domestic and sexual violence in our community. Although I was pretty well versed in the perils of domestic violence, I didn’t realize how many people were affected by sexual violence. In fact, there is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.2 That’s a hell of a lot of violence.
This year, Take Back the Night is on Thursday, April 12 from 5-10 p.m. The event will be in College Square, the area in downtown Athens directly across the street from the Arch on UGA campus. In the past we’ve hosted the event on UGA’s campus, but this year, we wanted the event to be about the community of Athens.
Take Back the Night will feature speakers and performing artists from the community that share our perspective on making Athens and the world a safer place for women. The audience will hear from survivors, doctors, local advocates, and musicians. We will also have resources on site for attendees that might need help leaving an abuser or reporting an attack. As the sun sets, we will rally together and march in solidarity to let the community know that violence against women is never okay. After the march we will reconvene in the grass on UGA’s historic north campus for a vigil honoring survivors.
That said, the Women’s Studies Student Organization needs your help. We only receive a small amount of funding from UGA, and we’ve already exhausted those funds on permit and insurance expenses for the event. We still need help funding the extra costs that come with the event, including promotions, honorariums for the speakers/performers, and food. All proceeds will go to the North Georgia Cottage, which works with women and children who are victims of sexual assault.
We know that sometimes donors feel disengaged by simply writing a check or donating a gift certificate. This year, in an effort to get the community shops, organizations and restaurants more involved, we are offering a great way to donate to Take Back the Night while also letting Athens know you care about women’s safety. We all know somebody that has been affected by domestic or sexual violence, and this is your chance to honor that person. For just $10, you can buy a star with that person’s name on it to let Athens know who you “Take Back the Night for...”. You can hang the star in your storefront or on the stage at Take Back the Night. Of course, we respect anonymity, and if you feel uncomfortable putting a survivor’s name on the star, you can put the name of your business, to show that you are a supporter.
If the star option doesn’t seem right for you, we are also glad to accept other forms of donations, including cash, check, gift certificates, donated items, or donated food. If you’d like to help out in another way, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thank you so much for your support. Together we can make the world a little better for women everywhere.
Sophie Cox and the members of WSSO
For more information on Take Back the Night, visit:
1Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” (2000).
2 U.S. Department of Justice. National Crime Victimization Survey. 2006-2010.