The Advance-Titan

UWO helps Take Back the Night

UWO students, administrators and guest speakers stop in front of the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center to raise awareness of violence against women. Elizabeth Pletzer | The Advance-Titan

UWO students, administrators and guest speakers stop in front of the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center to raise awareness of violence against women.

Students rally together for the 25th Take Back the Night.Elizabeth Pletzer | The Advance-Titan

Students rally together for the 25th Take Back the Night.

UW Oshkosh and the Fox Valley community march to the Christine Ann Center on Wednesday.Elizabeth Pletzer | The Advance-Titan

UW Oshkosh and the Fox Valley community march to the Christine Ann Center on Wednesday.

Take Back the Night’s 25th anniversary continues to raise awareness about violence against women at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center on Wednesday. UW Oshkosh alumni Morgan Counts and Senior Project Manager of Breakthrough Joe Samalin spoke at the event to help spread awareness about sexual violence. Samalin said Breakthough is a human rights organization that has a goal to make violence unacceptable on college campuses. “One of our main programs is preventing campus sexual violence, so we have a number of programs that deal with campus sexual violence,” Samalin said. Samalin said in his speech that more than 50 percent of men in America believe more than half of the women who so they’ve been raped are lying. “Even when those not-quite-so-feminist organizations like the FBI and department of justice say [the reality] is about 2 to 8 percent,” Samalin said. Counts said the goal of her speech was to inspire individuals who have been abused and are having a hard time coming to terms with what actually happened. “I’m trying to empower people who are survivors of assault or abuse or know somebody who may have been a victim and empower them to use their voice to speak up because there are so many cases of sexual assault and abuse that go unreported,” Counts said. Counts said the hardest part of her journey was dealing with the process after the abuse and talking to people about what happened. “That was the hardest part because you’re talking about something you don’t want to be talking about,” Counts said. “It’s not easy to talk about it with people you do know, and it’s not easy to talk about with people you don’t know. There is a lot of pressure throughout that whole process to talk about it.” Co-chairwoman of the event, Kathleen Huskey said the event is meant to encourage people not to be silent about various types of abuse towards women. “We gather to bring awareness to ending violence against women: dating violence, domestic violence and sexual assault,” Huskey said. According to the Take Back the Night press release, the Gail Floether Steinhilber Art Gallery presented a new exhibit by local artist Michael Wartgow that was inspired by domestic and sexual abuse survivor stories. “The exhibition includes seven artworks inspired by stories from survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence,” the press release stated. “The artist visually translated these stories by focusing on the moment of empowerment unique to each survivor’s story.” The press release stated the artist did not meet the people who wrote the stories, but he transformed their writing into art. “Without having met or talked to any of the survivors, Michael Wartgow interpreted the work through each survivor’s written word, hence utilizing the power of art to communicate the unspoken and to give voice to those who are silent but wish to speak out,” the press release stated. UWO senior Jeff Fairchild went to the event for the first time and said he wished he had taken previous opportunities to attend. “I have a sister who goes to campus frequently, especially at night to do homework, and I’m always worried about her safety, and this event sheds light on an important issue that there can never be enough knowledge on stopping abuse,” Fairchild said. Fairchild said he appreciated Samalin’s speech since he was honest about gender issues in his workplace, and men can have easier and better opportunities to succeed. “Both men and women could gain something from attending since this was geared to both genders,” Fairchild said. “It was encouraging how many people came to the event, especially the amount of men that showed up. It was also nice to see that this was a community and campus event, since it is a societal problem.” According to Fairchild, Morgan’s speech stuck with him because she was passionate about changing how our society views violence and abuse towards women. “We should work hard enough [to] stop abuse so events like Take Back the Night are no longer needed,” Fairchild said. “It’s only us that can make a change.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
UWO helps Take Back the Night