Students march against domestic violence

Gloria Pytlak / Clarion Call

Clarion, Pa.- Take Back the Night, a campus wide V-Day presentation, brought the subjects of sexual abuse and domestic violence to the forefront in Gemmell’s Multi-Purpose Room Monday night.

Approximately 50 university students and faculty attended the event and participated in the march that followed the awareness presentation.

Take Back the Night and the march were both inspired by the global organization V-Day, founded by Eve Ensler.  Their mission is to end violence against women and girls.

Many speakers touched base on how violence affects many and why it should be talked about more often.

Ending female sexual and domestic abuse was not the only topic, however, as many noted how sexual and domestic abuse is still prevalent against male victims as well.

Marlene Austin, the director of PASSAGES, a local sexual assault agency, spoke about how her organization has been on the Clarion University campus in an effort to try to end violent acts. 

Austin said one out of four girls will be sexually assaulted by age 18, and one out of six boys will be taken advantage of by the time they turn 18.

Tina Horner, communication manager, then described the effects of emotional and verbal abuse and how personal struggles in her life helped her relate to the topic of the V-Day presentation. 

“Not one of you deserves to be abused,” Horner said.

Kiyomi Knox read poetry by Eve Ensler about sexual assault and an “Angry Vaginas”

presentation followed, empowering attendees at the presentation.  As many do not know, the V in V-Day stands for “Valentine, Victory and Vagina” and has also reclaimed actual Valentine’s Day as a time to celebrate women and raise awareness for violence against women.

Other speakers for the night included Jeff Ciak, who spoke about how sexual violence also affects the lives of men, and Victoria Martin who also remarked how women can be the perpetrators as well as the victims of rape and other abuse.

Clarion V-Day Project President  and junior Megan Reinert, played a substantial role in running the entire night, and plans on adding a Women and Gender Studies minor to her Speech Pathology and Audiology majors. 

“Take Back the Night is so important because there is such a stigma attached to speaking about sexual assault and domestic violence.  V-Day’s goal is to open up a dialogue about these issues.  We want survivors to feel comfortable to come forward and get help,” said Reinert.

Adamant about the V-Day event as well as the campaign’s importance, Reinert noted how, “Although October is domestic violence awareness month, we strive to put on events almost every month, so we can keep these issues on the forefront.”

As the Women and Gender Studies Student Coordinator, Reinert along with the rest of the concerned Clarion campus will be continually making violence and abuse against women and men a common topic to talk about it, making awareness normal instead of a special occasion. 

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