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UMD to mark Take Back the Night

This week the University of Minnesota Duluth will host an annual event that offers a safe space for people who have experienced power-based violence, such as sexual or domestic abuse, to share their stories.

The Take Back the Night rally, march and speak out will take place Wednesday night in UMD's Kirby Student Center Rafters.

Kristi Beaver, Take Back the Night planning committee member, defined power-based violence as violence committed against a person to gain power and control. She said the violence can take many forms such as emotional, psychological or physical abuse. Power-based violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality, Beaver said.

"Really no one is immune," she added.

Wednesday's event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a pre-rally gathering and resource fair in the UMD Kirby Student Center Rafters. Local organizations will provide resources and information on how community members can help prevent power-based violence in the Duluth area, Beaver said.

"There's a role for all of us to play in power-based violence and ending that," she said. "There's a role for businesses. There's role for athletes. There's a role for parents. It's very diverse."

Attendees can make signs for the march at the resource fair but are also free to bring their own.

There will be a rally at 6:15 p.m. followed by a march around campus and the neighboring community at 6:45 p.m. The march is a two-mile loop starting and ending at the Kirby Bus Hub. Participants will march along portions of St. Marie Street, Woodland Avenue, University Drive and College Street.

Participants will return to the Kirby Rafters where coordinators will hold a speak out event at about 7:20 p.m. The speak out provides a safe space for people who have experienced power-based violence to share their experiences, Beaver said.

Advocates will be available throughout the event to provide support and resources.

Beaver added it is important for people who have not experienced power-based violence to attend Take Back the Night because the event raises awareness and inspires conversation about the issue.

"Those that are not survivors often don't realize how big of a problem this is and how common," she said.

Although the issue of sexual violence has come into the spotlight at college campuses across the country, Beaver said this issue is not confined to those areas. College-aged people experience power-based violence at the highest percentages, she said, but it is still a serious issue among older age groups.

"The catcalling and the inappropriate remarks to the individuals on the street — that doesn't just happen on campus, that happens throughout our whole community as well," Beaver said. "We all deserve to feel safe when we're walking at night."

If you go

  • What: Take Back the Night rally, march and speak out
  • When: Wednesday; resource fair at 5:30 p.m., rally at 6:15 p.m., march at 6:45 p.m. and speak out at about 7:20 p.m.
  • Where: University of Minnesota Duluth Kirby Rafters, 1120 Kirby Drive