In partnership with Hope and Justice Project, the University of Maine at Presque Isle will host a Take Back the Night event, which will include a candle lit march, on Thursday, Oct. 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., starting at Gentile Hall and continuing in the Campus Center Multi-Purpose Room. All members of the community are invited to attend and be a part of this important event.
Take Back the Night events have been held across the country and around the world since as far back as the 1970s, but this is one of the first times such an event has been held in Presque Isle and the second in recent years; a similar Take Back the Night event was held at UMPI last year. This year’s event, organized by the Student Organization of Social Work [SOSW], is aimed at raising awareness and educating people on the issue and impact of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Until safety for everyone can be ensured, awareness events like Take Back the Night continue to be symbolic of how we must work together as communities to speak out against violence and to stand together for hope and healing,” Shirley Rush, UMPI Associate Professor of Social Work, director of the BSW program, and SOSW advisor, said. “Student Organization of Social Workers is pleased to collaborate with Hope and Justice to offer this important community event and wish to extend a welcome to all who are interested in participating to join us on Thursday night to create a better world all of us.”
The evening’s activities kick-off with a candle lit walk at 6:30 p.m. Participants will meet in the front lobby of Gentile Hall. The walk will proceed from Gentile Hall to the Multi-Purpose Room of the Campus Center. Once there, members of the group will be sharing stories of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and offering words of inspiration and encouragement to help raise awareness and shine a positive light on the issue. Casey Faulkingham, prevention coordinator for Hope and Justice Project, will give opening remarks.
“I am thrilled that this event is taking place for a second year in a row,” Faulkingham said. “All too often, victims and survivors of abuse and violence are made to feel ashamed of their experiences. It is our goal to create a safe space for victims and survivors to feel liberated and empowered to share their stories so that we the community can gain a better understanding of how to support victims and help create a culture that doesn’t allow such violence to happen in the future.”
To create a safe, judgment-free environment, no recordings or pictures are allowed during the speaking portion of the event and any members of the media in attendance will be asked to stop recording. All cell phones need to be put away. In addition, advocates from Hope and Justice Project will be available at the event to provide support to anyone who may have experiences with abuse or violence.