March pushes women to ‘take back the night’

By Nicole Eggers

If one picture can speak 1,000 words, then Patricia Schmittfull hopes 4,000 pictures can change UK’s campus.

Over the past six weeks, Schmittfull, a volunteer at the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, has been taking pictures of female students hoping to have 4,000 pictures to represent the number of women at UK who will be affected by sexual violence this year.

It was difficult to find people to photograph, Schmittfull said. Many didn’t want to have their pictures taken.

“Sometimes it got frustrating, but I always kept going since I knew it was for a great cause,” said Schmittfull, a psychology freshman. “It is all to serve the campus and reduce violence on it, especially violence against women.”

The pictures will be displayed tonight at 6 at Memorial Hall when the VIP Center presents its third annual Take Back the Night event. The event — comprised of a silent march, speeches from supporters and an empowerment concert — aims to raise awareness about violence against women and to support increased campus safety.

Schmittfull hopes that by displaying these pictures, it will have a greater impact than just raising awareness. She said women should know sexual violence affects everyone and that no one is safe from it.

This year’s march is different than the events of the past two years when groups of people chanted and marched, because this year the participants will be silent, said McKenzie Thompson, co-chair of Take Back the Night and a psychology senior.

The silent walk will start at 6 p.m. in front of Memorial Hall, continue down South Limestone Street to Washington Avenue, then down Rose Street to Funkhouser Drive and will end back at Memorial Hall.

Take Back the Night began in 1877 in England when women began protesting against the fear of walking the streets alone at night. Support for the cause came to the U.S in 1978. UK held its first march in 2006, and nearly 500 people participated in last year’s event.

“UK students need to get involved with this event because violence against women touches all of us no matter our race, class or gender,” Thompson said.

Take Back the Night allows survivors and people who support survivors of violence to be heard, Thompson said. This opportunity is a chance for the community to come together and express themselves and confront different forms of violence, she said.

One out of three women will become a victim of physical assault, sexual assault or stalking as students at UK, according to the VIP Center’s Web site.

Brian Schoester, a geography junior, said he had “no clue” the statistics were that high.

“I assumed it was high, but one in three, action needs to be taken,” he said.

Booths will be set up at Memorial Hall for participants to paint T-shirts to express their feelings on violence, followed by speeches from supporters during an open-mic time and an empowerment concert at 9 p.m.