Inesha Howard | Staff Writer
Rape crisis and sexual assault services of Augusta University and Paine College held the 20th Annual Take Back the Night Rally on April 21 on the Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theater lawn.
This event brought out many students, faculty, staff and people in the community. Many organizations from both campuses and people in the community had information tables to educate those in attendance on sexual assault awareness. Some of the information tables present were Augusta University Counseling Center, Safe Homes Augusta, Lambda Alliance and Fort Gordon Installation Sharp Office.
Many people came out to this event for different reasons, such as supporting colleagues and expressing the importance of sexual assault awareness.
“I generally attend Take Back the Night rallies wherever I happen to be,” Candace Griffith, an assistant professor for criminal justice at AU said. “So I have been attending these since I was a graduate student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and I’m just out here to support the event and to support my colleague, Dr. Foley.”
Griffith said that she feels sexual assault prevention is a very important thing.
“Women have to take back the night and it shouldn’t have to be that way,” Griffith said. “We should be teaching our sons and brothers and so forth that a woman’s body is a woman’s body and you don’t get to determine what you do to it. If she says no, no means no and don’t rape just be nice.”
Candace Best, an assistant professor in the department of psychological sciences at AU and a member of the sexual assault awareness planning committee, said that she and other committee members had been actively working all year to make sure that events such as the Take Back the Night Rally and the Take Back the Day 5K were a success.
“I think for me what it really represents is awareness,” Best said. “I think if you want to make changes to a problem you first have to know that it’s happening and so I think events like this really help bring awareness to the university, community and to students. This is in fact a real issue. There are women and men who are survivors of this experience who have moved on and become very successful individuals.”
Best said that she thinks it is critically important for students to come out to events such as this one because it is happening to them. She also said that this semester the committee implemented teachings, which are sexual assault awareness trainings. In those trainings, Title IX and the sexual assault misconduct policy at AU were discussed.
“We were able to hold five talks right on campus, which was really great,” Best said. “I think doing more of those would be helpful because unfortunately a lot of students were unfamiliar with the policy and it’s a standard they’re being held to, so they really need to be informed about it. Seeing more of those being done I think is going to be important.”
Although some students came to the event for extra credit opportunities, they still felt that there was a need for sexual assault awareness.
“In addition to the extra credit opportunities, I think that protection of womanhood is very sacred and near and dear to my heart,” Cedric Mason, a nursing student, said.
Mason said that he does believe that men are sexually assaulted but just not as much as women. He said that manhood is equally as important as womanhood, but in today’s society women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men.
“I think this event is very important based on the fact of the number of reported and unreported cases of sexual assault that happen on college campuses,” Mason said. “I think it brings awareness to the colleges that there are resources out there for them.”
Mason said that he doesn’t personally know anyone who has been sexually assaulted but he does have two daughters and that was another reason for the event being near and dear to his heart.
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