Violence prevention needs daily participation

Kernel Editorial Board

There’s no doubt one of the biggest problems facing this campus is the prevalence of sexual assault.

When nearly one-third of all female students will experience some form of sexual assault or harassment during their time at UK, it’s clear something has to change. In fact, everything that can change the culture and lower that statistic should be done.

That’s why the annual Take Back the Night march, which took place on Wednesday evening, is one of the best events at UK— but this year, it was even better.

The event expanded out into Lexington to include people in the community, students from other colleges and even local high schools students. And the spirit found in support with numbers like that is what it will take to change things.

“We can accomplish so much more collectively than individually,” said Amber Lambert, one of the coordinators for the event in a March 30 Kernel article.

“How someone coming out of a bad situation, such as dating violence or sexual abuse, can see her support in numbers and know that they are not alone in this battle for a more secure and just life,” Lambert said.

Growing an event like Take Back the Night is integral to creating the kind of change it will take to make UK a safer place for women. It’s a jumping off point to get more people involved at the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, a way to educate people who don’t understand the problems this campus faces and, at least for one night a year, a way to actually make campus a safer place.

But making this happen involves bringing in more people, which is exactly what the VIP Center had in mind when they decided to expand the march.

“We want to get not only the students involved, but also the Lexington community as well. So this year we are expanding the march to incorporate more of the city,” said Sally Evans, Volunteer Coordinator for VIP Center in an April 1 Kernel article.

Of course, Take Back the Night is just a start. For everything it does and all the awareness it raises, it’s still just one event that happens once a year at UK. That won’t be enough to change things. UK students and staff must use that one night and that one event as a model for the way things should be.

The VIP Center works every day to increase awareness on these issues, and it doesn’t just stop with Take Back the Night: there are SEEDS retreats throughout the semester, a Green Dot campaign and various other initiatives over the course of the year to help make this campus safer, more unified, and more aware. But it will take more participation year round to make these initiatives truly successful.

Take Back the Night was one thing. Taking back the campus will be another.