Students, alumni and other university community members gathered for an October 21 march to raise awareness for the problem of sexual assault.
Intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking are important and widespread public health problems in the United States. According to a 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by the CDC, an average of 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 10 million women and men.
NIU has instituted many innovative programs such as its bystander intervention campaign as part of a comprehensive effort to combat the national problem of sexual assaults. Health Enhancement & Victim Advocacy Services‘ bystander intervention education and interpersonal violence prevention programs are designed to promote positive norms, behaviors, basic patterns of social interaction, values and customs.
NIU also offers a community program that directly addresses sexual assault. NIU sponsors women’s self-defense training with the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) system. RAD enhances options of self-defense for women so they are given viable considerations when confronted with a situation.
In July, an NIU task force was formed to provide recommendations to President Doug Baker regarding the implementation of federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments to the Clery Act and the White House Task Force recommendations to protect students from sexual assault. Those recommendations were delivered to the president October 15.
The Take Back the Night rally and march raises further awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault and helps spread the message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our community. The march aims to build unity and change the culture, building a society where all people are safe and respected.
The procession began with a rally at NIU’s MLK Commons before participants marched to Lincoln Highway and then east to a bonfire at the East Lagoon.