Niagara University is inviting the community to “Take Back the Night” on March 31 through participation in an annual event that aims to end sexual, relationship, and domestic violence in all forms.
The event begins in the Gallagher Center gym at 5 p.m. with resource tables, poster making, a brief program, and a candlelight vigil. The event concludes with a student-organized march across campus.
This will mark the fifth year NU has hosted “TBTN,” which drew hundreds of students and community members in past years.
“This year’s theme is ‘Believe. Respect. Unite.’ We come together to hold a space of honor and respect for survivors and their families. We look forward to sharing our vision of hope, unity, and a call to action with our community,” said Dr. Jennifer E. Beebe, associate professor of counseling, who is co-organizing the event at NU with Dr. Dana L. Radatz, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice.
“This year, we have worked to integrate the event into the newly established Office of Violence Prevention & Education, under the leadership of project director Emily Pike,” Radatz said. “This allows the event to be part of a larger initiative within the university to educate and increase awareness on violence prevention. With ‘TBTN,’ the emphasis is on increasing awareness and education on sexual violence.”
NU said, “The Office for Violence Prevention & Education is a one-stop-shop for campuswide violence prevention programming such as bystander intervention, advocacy, victim services, trainings, and awareness events surrounding dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (DVDVSAS).”
Beebe said, “We are excited to launch the OVPE at NU, which signifies a commitment to prevention and education efforts on sexual and relationship violence on our college campus. We hope to lead the way in fostering a cultural shift that results in the next generation of advocates and leaders, ensuring a safer campus and local community.”
Pike said, “ ‘Take Back the Night’ has laid the foundation for the OVPE, and I am excited to take part in organizing this event for our campus. This is an opportunity to come together as community to listen, reflect and advocate for survivors and their families. ‘Take Back the Night’ is a true reflection of the Vincentian values at Niagara University.”
Niagara University President the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., said, “The Catholic and Vincentian mission of Niagara University calls on us to be the light for those who need our help, and this is another way we are able to do that. We are committed to fostering an educational environment that focuses on the dignity of every human being who comes on our campus. I’m very grateful to the students, faculty, staff and administrators who have invested themselves in this cause to affect change.”
Several community agencies and organizations from the local community partner and participate in the event. This year’s featured “TBTN” community partner is the YWCA of the Niagara Fronter. The YWCA is the certified provider of confidential crisis counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Niagara County. Among the organization’s numerous crisis service programs is a 24-hour crisis hotline staffed by trained professionals who provide an immediate response to assault victims.
“Take Back the Night” is a nonprofit charity with the mission of ending sexual violence in all forms, including sexual assault, sexual abuse, dating violence, and domestic violence. “TBTN” empowers survivors in the healing process and has hosted events throughout the world for over 50 years.
For more information on the “Take Back the Night” event on campus, call 716-286-8105 or email [email protected].
The event at Niagara has brought together students and faculty members from several academic programs, especially counseling and criminology and criminal justice. To learn more about NU’s academic offerings, visit www.niagara.edu.