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BC students Take Back the Night

"The more the merrier" was the exclamation from several organizers as carloads of Berea College students arrived at the "Take Back the Night" rally on October 6 in Richmond. Nearly 40 students from Berea College, the largest number in the history of the march in Richmond, were on hand to join students from Eastern Kentucky University and the community "Take Back the Night."

As many as 40 BC students attended the Take Back the Night Rally in Richmond.

The first “Take Back the Night” rally was organized in Europe to protest the fear that women had when walking alone at nighttime. The first United States rally was held in San Francisco in 1978. “Take Back the Night” marches seek to unite men, women, and children, to bring awareness and empowerment to individuals, and to inspire people to end violence against women.

Singers, community members, and representatives from Eastern Kentucky and Berea College were on hand at the Richmond "Take Back the Night" march to provide statistics, stories, and most of all, messages of hope to victims of abuse, and encouragement to seek help or speak out against violence. Several speeches were made before the protest, including speakers Sue Reimondo of Health Services, and Jessica Stone, facilitator of Women Uniting for P.E.A.C.E. Reimondo quoted poet Emily Dickenson in her speech. She proclaimed: "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all."

Following a loud and boisterous march through downtown Richmond, a candlelight vigil and "speak-out" was held in honor of survivors and victims of domestic violence. Rivalries between EKU and Berea College were put aside as everyone joined together to share stories of abuse, hope, and thoughts on how to eradicate abuse from society. Poems were read by community members, and a critique on our social structure and the effects of poverty on abuse was offered by Berea College student Sierra Parsons. Several men and women alike spoke of their experiences or an experience of a loved one. As the candles began to melt and flicker out, a message of love and hope was sent out to everyone. It was nearly silent as the crowd dispersed.

Even today, women are still subject to rape and violence. A report done in 2003 by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) estimated that one in three women around the world will be raped, beaten, sexually assaulted, or otherwise abused in their lifetime. In the United States, a woman is assaulted by her partner every nine seconds. According to the 2000 Crime Clock calculations, there is one rape every six minutes.

For more information on UNIFEM and the US Dept of Justice Office of Violence Against Women click the links below.

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