Take Back the Night Rally raises sexual assault awareness


Photo: Suhaib Tawil/Iowa State Daily

Blair Gershenson, graduate student in education, leads the march around campus.

Miranda Freeman

There was a turnout of approximately 40 people who showed support and awareness for those that have been sexually assaulted at the Take Back The Night Rally.

The march was held from 6-7 p.m. on March 25, 2013 at the West Terrace of the Memorial Union.

Michele Schaal, assistant professor of English at Iowa State, spoke for the event.

“The march is an internationally known event that started in October 1975 in Philadelphia,” Schaal said. 

“Lately people tend to think that women are perfectly equaled to men, but if you look at the news you will see people are still unfriendly to women and women still deal with sexual violence,” Schaal said.

Schaal went on to give an example of sexual violence towards women.

“On December 16, 2012, an Indian female student was brutally raped on a bus and later died because of her rape,” Schaal said. 

Not wanting to focus solely on the negatives, Schaal discussed change. 

“Raising awareness helps steps towards change,” Schaal said. “The march is what is important tonight.” 

The march was approximately a 30-45 minute walk around campus. Participants were invited to eat and drink refreshments at the Margaret Sloss house after the event. 

The Sloss Center donated $6,469.79 to Access, their largest donation of the year, and helped put on the event.

Access is an assault care center that helps sexually assaulted victims. 

The march is an annual event that takes place during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

Som Mongtin, the program assistant of the Sloss house, explained the large undertaking to place advertisements on campus. 

“We publicize the event in as many free ways as we can because this is non-profit,” Mongtin said. “People don’t always pay attention to [posters] as much if it doesn’t affect them individually.”

There are many groups that get involved with the march, said Mongtin. 

“The greek community, campus department, the community department and the Margaret Sloss Center are the ones who are involved with putting on this event,” Mongtin said. 

“They are trying to say, ‘Hey, we are trying to show support and we won’t tolerate violence. No, it’s not normal, we will not allow [violence],'” Mongtin said. 

Iowa State began doing this march 18 years ago, Mongtin said. 

“It is hard to say, but statistically, one in every sixth woman is sexually assaulted, but in college, one in every fourth woman is sexually assaulted,” Mongtin said. “Also, one in every 33 men is sexually assaulted.”