Students Speak Out For A Safer Campus
By Dani Atkins
Sun Star Reporter
Members of the UAF community gathered at Constitution Park Friday, April 17 to give their support to sexual assault survivors by taking back the night. More than 40 people showed their respect for those sharing their stories and showing those watching that no one is alone.
The Nanook Diversity and Action Council along with the Student Activities Office organized a Take Back the Night march in part with sexual awareness month. Those who attended listened to UAF community members speak out against interpersonal violence and the importance of not standing idly by. Keith Mallard, UAF police chief, said passion and desire were not enough, people must act to foster a community that doesn’t tolerate sexual assault. Those in attendance continued to march to Troth Yeddha’ Park, a place of reflection to look to the past and continue towards a better future.
“It’s important to show support to the survivors,” Daniel Nero, NDAC representative, said. Those who have experienced some form of sexual assault often feel that they did something wrong, that is never the case, he said. “We are here to show them that we still love them,” Nero said. No one ever asks to be assaulted and left feeling unloved and alone. Take Back the Night started as a way for women to express their anger and frustration created by those who violate others through forms of sexual assault. “We are here to protest and call attention to the violent crimes against women,” Dr. Kayt Sunwood, coordinator of UAF Women’s Center, said.
Those who come together and stand tall regardless of the horrible acts committed against them show that they are not victims but survivors. It is the hope that one day Take Back the Night will be a celebration of how far people have come to stand up against sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence, she said. “We can work together to change the culture and change the world,” Sunwood said. It is important to recognize that assault happens every day.
“Sexual assault is not just a community issue, it is a global one,” Jerzy Ellanna, Women’s Center student worker, said. It will take more than just passion to stop interpersonal violence, action is required, she said. “It is important to bring attention to these issues as it affects everyone,” Ellanna said