Take Back The Night: Community rallies against sexual assault in annual



By Will Wright | Assistant News Editor

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It was 1975 and the Atlanta Braves were losing.

An 11-year-old Christine Riordan, now UK provost, was  at the game with her brother. In search of cotton candy, Riordan went out on her own.

In a secluded part of the stadium, Riordan was approached by a group of teenage boys. When one of the boys began to assault her, another boy spoke up and said, “Hey man, cut it out. Let her go.”

Her story was one of many told at Take Back The Night, a rally held outside the Lexington courthouse Wednesday night.

Riordan said she was thankful to see so many people come to the rally, as she was thankful to the boy who spoke up during the Braves’ game.

An average of four people everyday come to the Lexington courthouse to file complaints of domestic abuse, said Fayette Circuit Court Judge John Schrader.

About 200 students and community members joined Schrader, who handles many of these cases, to support the victims of these violent crimes.

Before the rally, people gathered at Patterson Office Tower, Thoroughbred Park and Third Street Stuff to march downtown with the help of a police escort.

“There are so many more people here than last year,” said Travis Keene, an art studio senior.

Among the individuals who came to show their support were members of student organizations, including Black Voices, PAWS and Listen, and the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center.

As the crowd marched from POT down Limestone Street chanting and cheering, passers-by joined in and clapped in support.

“What do we want? No violence!” the crowd chanted. “When do we want it? Now!”

After the three different crowds culminated downtown, gathered around a podium to watch step shows by Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Guest speakers included Riordan, Fayette Circuit Court Judge Kathy Stein, and Chamara Kwakye, an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

Victims of sexual assault came up to the podium and shared their stories. For some of them, it was their first time talking about it in public.

“I am not a victim, I am a survivor,” said Sarah Miller, who has suffered sexual assault. “Together, we will create the more beautiful world we all know is possible.”

Josh Nadzam, who ran from Lexington to Frankfort on March 6 to protest sexual violence, said that men are failing to treat women with respect.

“As a young person, we’ve got to do everything we can,” Nadzam said. “You don’t have to run to Frankfort … (but) we all have a voice.”