By: Lauren Young
The Xavier University Women’s Center will host a gathering before proceeding to downtown Cincinnati for the 24th Annual Greater Cincinnati/ Newport Take Back the Night March. This is the final event that Xavier is partaking in as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The Xavier community has been involved with this march since 2008. The festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25 at the Women’s Center, located on 1415 Dana Ave. There, survivors of sexual assault will speak, supporters will help raise awareness and free pizza and T-shirts will be distributed.
Buses depart at 5:15 p.m. for Sawyer Point where another rally will take place. The goal of this event is to help raise awareness of sexual assault and empower survivors. Posters will be made at the rally and then participants will proceed to march across the John A. Roebling Bridge.
The keynote speaker this year is Gary Hudson, president and CEO of From Darkness to Light. Hudson’s organization focuses on issues of child abuse. He will speak once everyone has crossed over the bridge and will most likely center his address on awareness and prevention of sexual abuse.
The event will also feature talks from other survivors and a candlelight vigil. Tamika Odum, Director of the Women’s Center, encourages Xavier students who have never attended to join the crowd this year.
She described the atmosphere as “powerful” and a “have to be there” kind of experience that really has students “leave the event inspired and changed.”
She takes pride in the fact that Xavier has always had the largest number of student participants since they have been going to the march. She also mentions that having students from other nearby colleges and universities share their stories “makes it real.”
Despite the small size of our university, Xavier is not exempt from occurrences of sexual misconduct. This march aims to serve as a “visual reminder of the courage of survivors of sexual violence and the work done to bring an end to sexual violence.”
You can register for the march online at http://www.xavier.edu/womenscenter/ what/take-back-thenight. cfm. For more information call 513- 745-3940 or email xuwc@xavier. edu.