Westminster College and William Woods University students invite local citizens to join them in combating domestic violence through the annual “Take Back the Night” student event, which will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Church of St. Mary Aldermanbury on the Westminster campus.
Guests will receive candles, purple ribbons and programs and hear remarks from Stella Matheny from Columbia, who will share her personal experience with domestic violence in a victim impact speech. Methany will be introduced by Westminster junior Janepicha “Bambi” Cheva-Isarakul from Chiang Mai, Thailand, and intern for the Remley Women’s Center, which is co-sponsoring the event.
Rev. Brad Sheppard, Westminster chaplain, will also give brief remarks about the problem of domestic violence. Following the church event, Sable Handke, a WWU student and member of Alpha Chi Omega, will lead the group from the church to The Hill on the Westminster campus where women and men will be asked to share their stories and thoughts on domestic violence.
“The candle vigil will give women and men the opportunity to share their stories about domestic violence and have their voices heard,” says Cheva-Isarakul. “We want people who have been impacted by this terrible problem to know there are people who care about them and raise awareness about what a serious problem this is.”
Studies show one in every three women is beaten, sexually assaulted or abused during her lifetime.
Other event sponsors are Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority at Westminster, Alpha Chi Omega Sorority at William Woods and the Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARD-V).
“Take Back the Night” is an annual event held internationally to unify women, men and children against violence, and particularly sexual assault. “Take Back the Night” rallies and marches originated in England as a protest against the fear that women encountered on the streets at night. The first American event took place in November 1978 in San Francisco with more than 5,000 women from 30 different states participating.
Since October is the designated month to raise public awareness about domestic violence, Alpha Chi Omega has been involved in organizing several activities to raise awareness throughout the month. T-shirts decorated by students with language and artwork against domestic violence are hanging in McNutt Campus Center as a part of the national activity called The Clothesline Project.