Taking Back The Night

Cara Jackson

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On Wednesday night, over 60 students gathered on campus to bring awareness to domestic violence at the ninth annual “Take Back The Night” event. Hosted by the UNF Women’s Center and Alpha Chi Omega, the night began with a cross-campus march protesting against the fear and violence that many women experience while walking in public at night.

Powerful chants and loud drums could be heard as the crowd marched from Osprey Crossings to the Student Union, with a sense of unity in the air. The Union provided tables filled with candles that were passed around as students raised their flames in solidarity for those who have been affected by interpersonal violence.

Jacksonville locals such as the Women’s Center of Jacksonville and the Edward Waters College marching band came out to perform and show their support for the cause. The night proceeded with speeches from various campus leaders and even President David Szymanski.

“We’re creating a safe campus,” Szymanski said. “It’s about safety. It’s about respect. It’s about no tolerance for violence.”

The floor later opened up to survivors and advocates, giving them an opportunity to speak out and share their stories. Although each story was unique they all had a common theme, no one story was less serious than another and that anyone, male or female, can be a victim.

The night ended with a touching song by Lexi Vazquez and Erin Walsh singing “Rise Up” by Andra Day, empowering survivors to rise up and keep fighting.

If you, or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, please feel free to contact the 24-Hour Crisis Helpline at (904)-620-1010, or the campus Police at (904)-620-2800. Also feel free to visit the on-campus Victim Advocacy Program, located at Building 2, Suite 2100, where you can gain more resources and talk confidentially with an advocate.

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