Take Back The Night event explores sexual assault prevention, recovery

Jeremy Awad, junior in biochemistry, chants out with participants of the Take Back the Night March, Thursday, April 24, 2009, near Friley Hall. Members of ACCESS, the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support, sparked the event to raise awareness of violence against women, children, and families. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Chelsea Davis —

From Brussels, Belgium to Ames, for 34 years women around the world have “taken back the night.”

“These women decided to not be afraid of what’s out there,” said Som Mongtin, graduate assistant in educational leadership and policy studies. “They decided to empower themselves to take back the night.”

Thursday, as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, anyone is welcome to join in raising awareness of violence against women, children and families through a rally, march and lecture.

The group will begin with a rally at 6 p.m. on the Memorial Union terrace, where a survivor of sexual assault and the friend of a victim will speak to the crowd.

They will then march from Campustown to the Friley arches to LeBaron Hall where Scheherazade Tillet and her sister, Salamishah Tillet, will present “The Audacity to Heal,” describing Scheherazade’s efforts to use photography and art therapy to help Salamishah recover from her sexual assault in 1998.

“Our goal is to provide support and to bring awareness to the cause,” Mongtin said. “We want to let people know that sexual assault does not have to take over their life.”

Mongtin also said it’s important to be aware of sexual violence at Iowa State because one in four college women have or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

“And those are just the women who report it,” she said.