Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Take Back the Night 2011

UWF Supports Sexual Assault Awareness Month
By Jennie McKeon

In support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, UWF presents its 11th Annual Take Back the Night event Wednesday, April 6.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a commitment march from Martin Hall to the Commons on the UWF campus. Events after the march include a rape aggression defense demonstration sponsored by the UWF Police Department, cookout, information fair, guest speakers, a multi-media presentation about sexual violence prevention, and an oath to protect.

“Often it’s hard for people to engage in this subject,” said Holley Frommel, a public relations specialist at UWF Health Promotional Services. “This event inspires men and women to confront many issues including rape, sexual violence, domestic violence and violence against women and children. The unifying theme throughout these diverse topics is the assertion that every single person has the right to be free from violence and the right to reclaim their lives if those rights are violated.”

Sponsored by the UWF Counseling and Wellness Services, Take Back the Night offers students the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about their experiences, which is the best way to talk about the sensitive subject matter.

“The only way to change sexual assault is for each individual to understand the reality,” said Patrick Preston, a therapist who serves UWF and Yarbrough and Associates, in an e-mail interview. “We as a community need to be proactive in changing our culture so rape and violence are no longer tolerated.”

Preston has dealt with too many sexual violence cases in the five years he has provided therapy in Pensacola.

“There has not been a four-week period of not hearing a new story of rape, sexual assault or incest,” Preston said. “These individuals struggle with blame, making meaning of a world where such violence is accepted, and not being believed. Some who are victimized experience periods of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and isolation. We have too many people who walk around right here in Pensacola who are living with trauma from violence.”

Statistics show that one in four women have survived rape or attempted rape.

“Chances are that those who have not been affected by the issue personally know someone who has,” Frommel said. “This makes rape everyone’s issue.”

It was that insight that created a new organization at UWF: Everyone’s Issue. With this new organization, students raise awareness year-round as well as broaden Take Back the Night. In collaboration with Sigma Alpha Mu, there will be a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Monday, April 4 at 2:30 p.m. The event is part of the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence. Men and women who wish to participate in the event must walk a mile in, yes, high heels. If you’re looking for a more traditional race, you can enter the 4th Annual Run for Their Lives 5K run/walk sponsored by Lakeview’s Rape Crisis Center on Saturday, April 2 on Pensacola Beach.

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