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“Take Back the Night” gives victims of interpersonal violence a platform

By Maggie Skellie

Take Back the Night is a yearly event hosted by BraveBU to bring awareness to interpersonal abuse and sexual assault. This year’s “Take Back the Night” event took place on April 11 and gave victims a platform to discuss their stories and showcase resources available for victims of abuse, sexual assault, etc.

BraveBU’s annual “Take Back the Night” event began in 2018. Events under the same title take place on college campuses nationally to bring awareness to the issues of sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, and harassment.

“It’s really important to talk about these issues, because if you don’t bring awareness to it then no one is talking about it,” BraveBU Treasurer Sam Hacker said.

BraveBU’s aim with its “Take Back the Night” event is to expose survivors and their allies to the resources available to them on-campus and off-campus such as the Bellarmine Counseling Center, the Center for Women & Families, and the Louisville Metro Police Department. This event also allows them to have a platform to speak about their experience with interpersonal violence.

“‘Take Back the Night’ was used to bring awareness to the fact that women don’t feel safe at night, and just being an all-inclusive event trying to recognize these issues by empowering survivors to know their resources and how to be safe,” BraveBU’s Vice President Katelyn Carter said.

The night began with a welcoming statement from BraveBU’s President Avery Koch, followed by the history of “Take Back the Night” presented by Megan Goosey, BraveBU’s marketing & PR chair.

“Take Back the Night is the oldest worldwide movement to stand against sexual violence. The first ‘Take Back the Night’ event was held in 1978 as a public demonstration to draw the connection between sexual violence, human trafficking, and pornography,” Goosey said during her speech.

BraveBU had tables for bake sale items and informational pamphlets that discussed interpersonal violence, relationships, stalking, and more. Tables for the Bellarmine Counseling Center, Center for Women & Families, and the Louisville Metro Police Department were also featured at the event.

Campus and community partners of BraveBU were presented by Danielle White, Bellarmine’s community engagement and wellness adviser, and BraveBU’s faculty adviser. The partners who spoke that evening were Bellarmine’s Assistant Dean of Students and Chief Title IX Officer Allison Schumaker Smithkier, Associate Director of Clinical Services for the Bellarmine Counseling Center Dr. Marlana Bragg, Louisville Metro Parks & Recreation Administrator for Golf Operations Shawn Newton, and Prevention & Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Women & Families Margaret Scripps.

Following the campus and community partners’ speeches, BraveBU’s President Avery Koch and White discussed their stories as survivors of interpersonal violence. Following their stories, Executive Director of La Casita Center Karina Barillas shared her story and some inspirational words in a closing circle with all the event’s attendees. Students then shared their stories.

 BraveBU is a Registered Student Organization (RSO) at Bellarmine University that focuses on the prevention and elimination of interpersonal violence through education and awareness.

“Survivors, you are not alone. You can come talk to anybody at BraveBU or you can come talk to me personally and we can get you to the right resources.” Koch said.


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