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Take Back the Night rally, march scheduled

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 24 - March 21, 1996

The seventh annual Take Back the Night Rally and March in Blacksburg will be held on Wednesday, March 27. The purpose of this rally and candlelight march is to bring community members together to protest violence against women and to promote awareness of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that perpetuate this violence. Organizers encourage everyone to take action to change our society-a society in which women have reason to fear being out alone at night.

The rally, which will include speakers and musicians, will be held between 7:30 and 8 p.m. on the Drillfield. Beginning at 8 p.m., participants will march through campus and downtown Blacksburg, returning to the Drillfield for a closing celebration. The march route is accessible for disabled persons.

Before, during, and after the rally and march, the Clothesline Project will be on display.

The Clothesline Project, an effort to raise awareness of violence against women, is a visual testimony to the shattering effect of violence against women and the impact it has on society. Survivors of violence and friends and families of victims create shirts emblazoned with direct messages and strong illustrations. The shirts demonstrate the pain and suffering of the survivors, aid in their healing process, and celebrate their strength and courage to overcome the past.

The first Take Back the Night event was held in Germany in 1973 in response to a series of sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. Five years later, the first U.S. Take Back the Night march was held in San Francisco; more than 5,000 women from 30 states participated. Marchers have called attention to violence against women. Although marchers emphasize that violence against women occurs at all times, they are particularly concerned about violence at night.

Women and men of all ages are encouraged to join in the March 27 Take Back the Night event, which is part of Women's Month. Each participant is asked to wear a purple ribbon tied with a knot for every friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted. Ribbons will be worn throughout Women's Month to show support for victims and to protest sexual violence against all people.

Purple ribbons will be available at information tables before events during Women's Month and each weekday at the Women's Center in Price House.

Participants are asked to bring small candles or flashlights and, together, to march in Take Back the Night. Percussion instruments are welcome. (In case of rain, participants will gather in Squires Colonial Hall.)

Sponsoring organizations include Womanspace, the Black Female Coalition, Dean of Students Office, Graduate Student Assembly., League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, MAPs, Montgomery County NOW, Panhellenic Council, Planned Parenthood, Residence Hall Federation, SAVES, Virginia Tech Campus Ministers Association, Women's Center, Women's Network, Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley, Women's Studies Program, and YMCA at Virginia Tech.

For more information, call Susan Anderson at 951-2013 or 1-8041, or Dianna Benton at 1-7635.