SUU Women (and Men) Take Back the Night

Published: October 27, 2009 | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU’s Center for Women and Families is taking back the night this week with its fifth annual march and rally to fight against sexual violence. 

The week’s activities will focus on a heightened awareness of sexual violence within the community and will aim to generate solutions for how the SUU campus can combat such offenses. 

The night is often regarded as the most dangerous time of day for women, no matter the activity. However, Caitlyn Kennedy, director of the Center for Women and Families, emphasizes that this is not solely a women's issue – but a human issue. 

Says Kennedy, "We want to make Cedar City safe for everyone; to do this, we need to educate the community about the potential dangers a large portion of our citizens face.” 

The week will begin with “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” on Tuesday, October 27 at noon in the Rotunda. This event encourages men to take a stand against domestic violence and literally, walk a mile in women's shoes to show their support for the women in their lives. Those participating can either pay to walk the laps or find sponsors for each lap. Women may also participate by walking in comfortable shoes alongside the men. 

The money raised from the event will go to the Erin Kimball Memorial Foundation located in St. George. The foundation is committed to providing a safe place for victims of domestic abuse in honor of Erin and her two children who were killed by an abusive husband. The foundation is currently working on securing long term housing for women and families of domestic violence. 

On Wednesday, the Center for Women and Families will be hosting a women's only hands-on self-defense class from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Combat Room of the Physical Education Building. The class is free of charge however, those interested need to register in the Center, located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center, to secure a spot. 

The week’s main event, the March and Rally to Take Back the Night, will then be on Thursday. The march will begin at SUU’s new Cedar Hall housing complex at 6:30 p.m., and participants will march up to Main Street and back to campus ending in the Living Room of the Sharwan Smith Center. 

This year’s goal is for this group to be at least 200 students and community members strong. Says Kennedy, "We want both women and men to participate; our hope is to create a more open dialogue and support network for women concerning the issues surrounding sexual violence." 

An annual event, the Take Back the Night march has seen more and more participants each year, and Kennedy encourages all to join in, adding, “This is a time for the community to come together to face the issue of sexual violence and make our community safer.” 

The rally will also include speeches from Sue Kimball of the Erin Kimball Foundation, Royce Houchen of the Southern Utah Mobile Crisis Team, and Kate Flowers, the senior community coordinator in residence housing. The speakers will address how you campus and community safety, what to do if you find yourself a victim of sexual assault and the resources that are available for support. 

The evening will conclude with live music from local musician Steve Swift. 

As to what she hopes to accomplish this week, Kennedy aims to "leave people feeling empowered to do more and demand more when it comes to the safety within their community.” She adds, “We want people to feel as if they really can and have taken back the night."

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