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'Take Back the Night' rally supports sexual violence survivors

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | Oct. 24, 2014

Survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence — and those who support them — will gather for a speakout and rally on Monday, Oct. 27, from 5:30-7 p.m. on the Dobbs University Center Terraces.

For the past decade, Emory has offered a public forum for sexual assault survivors, students, faculty and staff to address a pervasive form of violence that has touched the lives of both women and men in every corner of society.

Sponsored by the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) and Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA), both student-led campus organizations, the "Take Back the Night" rally is held in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The rally will feature personal accounts from survivors of relationship violence, to be shared in person or read anonymously by volunteers, says Drew Rizzo, assistant director of Emory's Respect Program.

"It's all about the community coming together and showing support and solidarity for those who are experiencing sexual and relationship violence, as well as harassment and stalking," Rizzo says.

"It's an opportunity to demonstrate just how many people support the cause to end violence and are willing to take time out of their schedules to listen to survivors share their stories," he adds.

Both Emory President James Wagner and Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair are scheduled to present opening remarks; plans also call for Dean Nair to serve as a volunteer reader, opening the rally with the first account, he adds.

The rally is one of several events scheduled on campus in connection with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Center for Women at Emory (CWE) and Alumnae and Women of Emory are also sponsoring a Diaper Drive this month, collecting donations of diapers to help fill the nursery at the International Women's House, which offers a safe haven and supportive services for immigrant and refugee women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse with a focus on cultural sensitivity and self-sufficiency.

Disposable diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes, baby shampoo and conditioner, baby lotion, toilet paper, paper towels and basic household cleaning supplies may be brought to CWE's Nursing Nest on the third floor of Cox Hall between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Donations can also be dropped off at the Miller-Ward Alumni House.

Donations will be accepted through Friday, Nov. 7. All goods will be delivered to the International Women's House during Emory Cares International Service Day, Saturday, Nov. 8. For more information contact cwe@emory.edu.

To spread awareness of sexual violence and prevention, the Respect Program has also been sharing articles and information this month through a social media campaign. Grads Against Violence, a student-led effort to study sexual violence from a multi-disciplinary perspective, also sponsored a Journal Club on Sexual Violence. For information, email Katie Krause.

In recognition that access to affordable and confidential health care can be a major barrier to sexual violence survivors or those in abusive relationships seeking help, Emory's Office of Health Promotion and Office of LGBT Life also partnered with the Dekalb County Board of Health to offer two days of free, confidential rapid-HIV testing on campus this month.