May 10, 2016

Take Back the Night raises sexual and domesic violence awareness

Cleveland State University held its first Take Back the Night event featuring a march through the campus and a candle-lit vigil on April 28.

Take Back the Night is an international nonprofit organization that is devoted to raising awareness and ending sexual and domestic assault in any form.

The march of about 20 to 25 students and faculty started at the Student Center and proceeded down Euclid Avenue to East 14th Street and then down Chester Avenue.

The night featured opening words from Parker Keating, one of the key students involved in the planning of the event as well, as representatives from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC), and the Cleveland State Title Nine office, as well as survivors of sexual violence sharing their stories.
v Keating started planning Cleveland State’s Take Back the Night event after chairing the Sexual Assault Awareness Seminar this past fall.

“I wanted to have an event that carried over the message [from the Sexual Assault Awareness Seminar], but also can engage the students into feeling like they are a part of the cause,” Keating said.

Vanessa Sampsel, the campus victim specialist from CRCC, talked about how Cleveland State is opening a resource center on the campus to make it more accessible for students and the importance of Take Back the Night events.

The CRCC offers an assortment of services to survivors ranging from therapeutic services to student advocates to help with legalities.

“I think the number of students coming in will start off slow but with more exposure of us and our service more and more people will come in seeking help,” Sampsel said.

A Cleveland State graduate student and survivor, who asked to not be named, thinks that having a center with so many resources on campus is important for the healing process.

“As a survivor I went through a period where it was even hard for me to get out of bed,” she said. “The more accessible the center is the more helpful it will be to those seeking help. Being right on campus will help students making appointments to talk or seek legal help easier, especially on a commuter campus like Cleveland State.”

“I think that it’s sad that there is a need for campuses to have crisis centers, but I’m glad that Cleveland State is opening one instead of being in denial about the problem,” she continued. “I think this event and the new center a great start for the campus.”

Keating also hopes that this year’s event will be a great start for the tradition of having a Take Back the Night event on the Cleveland State campus going forward.

“I want Take Back the Night to be a CSU staple event that all students feel excited to participate in,” Keating said. “I see a campus that is changing and giving the students a platform to use their voices. I hope Take Back the Night can serve as another platform from here on out.”

For more information on how to report instances of sexual assault or domestic violence, visit https://www.csuohio.edu/titleix/sexual-violence-resources.



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