Students unite to Take Back the Night



By Kyle Graham

Shatter the silence. Stop the violence.

That’s the motto and mission of the Take Back the Night Foundation, a group dedicated to stopping sexual violence through awareness. The Violence Intervention and Prevention Center at UK sponsored the annual Take Back the Night event Wednesday night to raise awareness about sexual violence.

The event kicked off with a march to Courthouse Plaza in downtown Lexington. This year’s march differentiated from years past as there were three starting points for the march, Patterson Office Tower, the parking lot of 3rd Street Stuff on Limestone, and Triangle Park.

“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 at the VIP center.

“Having three starting points for the march along with a great location in the center of downtown really allowed for the entire Lexington community to participate”, said Amber Lambert, a student coordinator for the event.

The participants in the march carried signs and wore colorful patches that read phrases such as “consent is sexy”, and “no means no”, as they chanted various phrases including, “Lexington unite, take back the night,” and “2-4-6-8 no more abuse, no more rape.”

“I came out tonight to support my female friends,” said Josiah Henry, a business freshman. “It is important that males participate in this event as well not only to show support, but also to be able to help make society safer for women and to be a voice toward their other male friends. I even missed work to come out here tonight.”

Upon arriving at Courthouse Plaza a “speak-out” session began where students and other members of the crowd had the opportunity to tell their story to the crowd. Several UK students choked through tears of pain as they spoke their deepest, darkest secrets into a microphone for their peers to hear.

One student was so moved by the march that she was able to share her story.

“I was raped my first semester at UK,” she said. “It was very powerful for me tonight because I realized that by telling my story I could potentially help others in the crowd realize that they are not alone and all by themselves, and that there is a lot of help out there.”

The event ended with a candlelight vigil to show support for victims.

“(It is) a way to honor those who have ever been at the hands of sexual and relationship violence and to show support as a community of men and women who come together to say ‘no more’ to sexual assault and rape on our campus and in our city,” Evans said.