CONTENT WARNING: This story contains mentions of sexual assault and domestic violence. Use caution before reading.
The Feminist Leadership Alliance (FMLA) at SRU held their annual Take Back the Night event Thursday from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. Students met at The Quad to protest domestic violence and sexual assault. FMLA co-sponsored alongside with 20 other SRU organizations for this event and there were 149 participants who attended.
President of FMLA Megan McLafferty spoke on the preparations and collaborations that allowed for this event to be so successful.
“What was really cool was that we had a lot of different student organizations sponsor,” McLafferty said. “We had fraternities and sororities, religious organizations, academic departments, health related organizations. A lot of organizations you would not usually see us collaborate with which I thought was especially important for this event because in particular this issue is so important for us as a campus to come together on.”
During the event, McLafferty shared two public stories about those who have survived domestic violence and sexual assault. She then passed the microphone to senior Madison Strotman who shared her own story.
“I felt it was important to share my story because I did not gain the courage to even go to the police without the stories of other women,” Strotman said. “The Me Too Movement is such an impactful movement because it makes victims of sexual assault, regardless of gender, feel less alone.”
To learn more about the Me Too Movement, click here.
The event ended with a candlelight vigil to pay respects to all those who lost their lives to domestic violence, followed by a march around The Quad.
The Victim Outreach Intervention Center (VOICe) attended the event to provide information about the services and resources the center provides. VOICe provides confidential services at no cost to individuals and families who have survived domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes.
Prevention Education Advocate for VOICe Kaeleen Martin spoke about the resources the center offers.
“Supportive educational counseling is available to all victims as well as people close to victims like a significant other,” Martin said.
VOICe provides confidential assistance for victims who have survived domestic violence, dating violence, rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Other services include crisis intervention, emergency domestic violence shelter, transitional housing, counseling, legal advocacy, medical advocacy, social services advocacy, support groups, children’s advocacy and community outreach and prevention.
VOICe is located in Butler County and has a 24-hour hotline (1.800.400.8551). To visit the VOICe website, click here.
Resources are provided to anyone who is in crisis, exploring healing, ready to act or helping someone else.
“It will be okay,” Strotman said. “You are still your own person and you still own your body. Just because you were sexually assaulted or hit by your intimate partner or family member does not mean you lose who you are. That experience will never leave you, but it does not make up the entirety of who you are.”
If you or someone you know has suffered from domestic abuse, the following resources are available to contact.
Domestic Violence Hotline phone number: 800.799.7233.SAFE (7233) or text ‘START’ at 88788.
National Domestic Violence Hotline website: https://www.thehotline.org/