GV preps for sexual violence awareness night

GVL / Archive

GVL / Archive

Alyssa Rettelle

Grand Valley State University’s club Eyes Wide Open is sponsoring the 13
th annual event Take Back the Night on Thursday, Oct. 9 in the Kirkhof Center’s Grand River Room.

Take Back the Night is an event that is used to raise awareness about sexual assault and to empower survivors of sexual assault.

Ian LaPoint is one of the co-chairs of the event as well as the social media manager for Eyes Wide Open. LaPoint believes the event is important to have annually.

“Take Back the Night gives students the opportunity to see that sexual violence is a prevalent issue and realize that we all know someone who has been affected by sexual violence, even if we might not be aware of it,” she said.

LaPoint also believes this event is important for survivors because it lets them know they’re not alone and that work is being done to end sexual violence.

“While spreading awareness and getting people to talk about the issue is important to ending sexual violence, this gives students the opportunity to get mad that sexual violence happens so often in our society and find their passion to fight it,” LaPoint said.

This year Katie Hnida will be the guest speaker. Hnida was the first woman to play and score points in a NCAA Division I football game while attending the University of New Mexico, and she was also the first woman to play in a professional football game, kicking for the Ft. Wayne Firehawks Arena football team. She’s a prominent advocate in stopping sexual violence and she works with multiple organizations and schools across the country.

Malayna Hasmanis, the co-chair for fundraising for Rock against Rape is a part of both Eyes Wide Open and Take Back the Night and said this powerful event hits home.

“I hope to see Take Back the Night really execute its true purpose, which is to give yourself a voice, to relinquish the past and to not hold onto the past,” Hasmanis said. “I think this is such a powerful message that really made its way across campus, and I hope to see it in an even more powerful light this year.”

Renee Augustyn is also a part of Eyes Wide Open and believes this is an important event.

“Take Back the Night is important to me because it helps to empower survivors of sexual assault, and it gets the issue out into the open,” Augustyn said. “I think it’s important that survivors, as well as everyone else on campus, know that sexual assault does happen and nobody is alone in their struggles.

“Take Back the Night lets Grand Valley students know that there is always support and help there for those who need it and it helps spread awareness that sexual assault is not okay. I hope to see people feeling empowered and influenced to take a stand at Take Back the Night, and I hope that the event will open the eyes of people who weren’t as informed before on the subject of sexual assault.”

The event begins at 7 p.m. and, following the guest speaker, there will also be a silent march across campus beginning at the Cook Carillon Clock Tower.

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