Taking back the night

Last week, I went to an event I think everyone should get a chance to attend; one that could change lives and inspire people to tell their own story.

The “Take Back the Night Rally” was held last week on Tuesday in the Memorial Union Ballroom. This event was part of the Clothesline Project.

Both events raise awareness about various forms of violence such as sexual assault, murder and domestic abuse among others.

Linda Walker, Dru Sjodin’s mother, spoke at the event, talking about her daughter’s murder and the steps she has taken since then to change legislation and raise awareness.

When I was sitting near the back listening to Linda speak and holding back my tears, I thought to myself how brave this woman was. She has been through a nightmare but here she is today, able to talk to us and tell the story of her daughter and all the things she has been a part of since that tragic day.

When I went back home that night, I could not stop thinking about everything I heard. I told my sisters in my sorority and I even called my parents and my fiance that same night.

Though it may seem like nothing, talking about violence is important. I believe it is something we all need to be aware of. It actually shocks me how often these horrible acts of violence occur. At the event, I learned that in the United States every minute, a woman is raped.

Maybe talking about it will help one person find the courage to tell their story or it might inspire someone to be more aware of their surroundings when they are out and about.

One thing I encourage all women at UND to do is to enroll in the IMPACT class next semester. I have taken it myself and I would encourage others to do the same.  It is a self-defense class where you actually get to learn moves hands-on during a period of three days. Think about it, it might be the most important class you ever take.

Clothesline Project: Photo courtesy of UND Women’s Center