BIG RAPIDS – Aiming to empower women and men who have seen the face of violence, Ferris State University faculty, staff and students, and local community members will unite at “Take Back the Night” to defeat the presence of sexual assault and domestic violence in the Big Rapids community.
As part of a monthlong effort to raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault, “Take Back the Night” presents to its participants an opportunity to march, rally, chant and take a stand on both the Ferris campus and in the surrounding community.
To acknowledge October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Ferris State partners with Women’s Information Services, Inc. (WISE), an area women’s shelter, to host this annual event.
“It is our hope that this program continues the dialogue about domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Student Life Coordinator Nick Campau. “This program embodies Ferris’ core value of being an ethical community where everyone is treated with respect. This event will remind those in and around the campus community that sexual assault and domestic violence are not tolerated at Ferris.”
Participants will meet at 5:30 p.m. for a rally in the Ferris State Campus Quad on Monday, Oct. 25. The march immediately following the rally will route participants back to the Rankin Student Center Dome Room at approximately 6:15 p.m., where guest speaker Kelly Grandchamp of WISE will address some fallacies and myths that surround the issue of domestic violence.
“‘Take Back the Night’ is very significant to WISE because it is an opportunity to come together as a community and honor those whose lives have been lost by violence, to recognize those who have made a difference in the lives of victims, and to say, ‘no more,’ to violence,” said WISE Sexual Assault Advocate and Volunteer Coordinator Theresa Melching. “‘Take Back the Night’ is a declaration that we want to be able to enjoy the beauty of the night and the beauty of ourselves without the fear of the violence or of the darkness that comes with nighttime.”
As part of the festivities, WISE will display their Clothesline Project, which features a T-shirt representing a survivor’s experience. These T-shirts will be hung on a clothesline outside of the Rankin Student Center.
Other events a part of the monthlong recognition of these issues include “The Tombstone Project” and the “Stepping Up and Taking Action” open discussion. The Tombstone Project aims to point out the seriousness of domestic violence; tombstones bearing the date of birth and death, sex, and story of a Michigan resident’s experience with domestic violence will be displayed in the Ferris State Campus Quad through October.
For more information about these events, contact Campau at (231) 591–2949.