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“Take Back the Night” returns to the UNF campus

Dozens from the University of North Florida and Jacksonville community wore purple and chanted “We’re here forever, we’re here to stay, take back the night, take back the day” as they marched across campus on Wednesday, part of the annual “Take Back the Night” event.

Take Back the Night” is a worldwide initiative taking a stand against interpersonal, dating and domestic violence, and is an annual event at UNF to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

Beginning their march at the Peace Plaza, students held signs that read phrases like “LOVE not HURT” and “STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.” The march ended at the Student Union’s Osprey Plaza where they gathered to hear from speakers and performers.

One speaker was Latoya Calhoun, who works with Hubbard House. She told the story of Lashonda, her sister, who was a victim of domestic violence about 20 years ago, she told the crowd.

“I found that sharing her story has helped others in their healing journey as well,” Calhoun said, according to News4Jax.

Students and local activists gathered in Peace Plaza at the center of UNF’s campus before beginning their march. (Liam Sanderson)


The Victim Advocacy Program, now found in the Dean of Students Office in Building 57, hosted the event this year after their move from the Women’s Center.

“We can be a single point of contact in the middle of several systems that often come together if someone chooses to report,” said Brianne Vallenari, a victim advocate at UNF. The program is easily accessible on campus for students in need. 

“If you’re already traumatized, if you’re already in a high-emotion situation and you’re desperately trying to keep your head on straight while you’re dealing with all of these different systems, having an advocate can help parse that out and make that easier and help distill that to a single point of contact,” she said. 

For those who want to remain confidential, the Victim Advocacy Program is there for them too.

“If they just need a place where they need to disclose, talk to someone and ventilate their feelings,” Vallenari said. “If they’re not ready to do any of those things, but they want to down the road, we can discuss safety planning and short-term measures. We also provide academic accommodations.”

Nearly 20 people are abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. every minute, and women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence statistics. If you or someone you know has been affected by dating violence, domestic violence, or sexual assault, please contact a confidential advocate by calling (904) 620-1010, or UPD at (904) 620-2800. 


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Liam Sanderson, Police Reporter
Liam Sanderson was Spinnaker's police reporter, specializing in crime and police-related news coverage. He is a first-year majoring in both Criminal Justice and Psychology at the University of North Florida. Liam works to provide the university community with accurate, up-to-date coverage of police and crime activities.

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