Women’s Studies aims to prevent sexual assault

Amy Knop-Narbutis

Earlier this year, several students on the University campus were assaulted by unknown men. No one has since been charged. This has created a situation in which many females on campus may feel unsafe. To address this unfortunate reality, the University will be offering a series of events aimed at shattering the silence surrounding such controversial topics as sexual assault and rape.

Many women (and a substantial number of men) will, at some point in their lives, be assaulted and confronted by the reality of violent sexual crime. According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, someone is sexually assaulted in America every two and half minutes.

On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Vasey Hall Theatre, the University’s Women’s Studies Seminar class will present “Sex Assault,” a theatrical performance on sexual assault. This performance will be followed with a keynote address entitled “Rape: Challenges and Change,” given by guest speaker Cathy Winkler, author of “One Night: Realities of Rape.”

Winkler’s book chronicles her decade-long struggle to bring her rapist to court. The speech will be followed by a discussion.

Students will then engage in a “Take Back The Night” procession through campus. “Take Back The Night” marches are annual, women-organized events which publicly protest sexism and violence.

The marches initially began to protest the conditions that make women feel unsafe when they walk alone at night on the streets, but has expanded to address all cruelties that women experience as a result of sexual assault.

The purpose of the march is to break the silence that often surrounds issues of violence against women and to educate others about the realities of sexual assault.

Over the past years, participation in the TBTN march has waned. Many claim that the event seems too harsh and political in nature. On-lookers have been known to verbally harass marchers, screaming obscenities.

Still, the organizers say the TBTN is a valuable event that addresses the real danger of sexual assault, which many women, even those at the University, any of us may be forced to face.