UWL Hosts Take Back the Night in support of sexual assault survivors


Photo taken by Liberti Jonas-Jongebloed.

Liberti Jonas-Jongebloed, General Assignment Reporter

On Tuesday, March 29, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse hosted Take Back the Night with former College Student-Athlete and advocate for active bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention Kyle Richard.

Graduate assistant with violence prevention and one of the organizers of Take Back the Night, Jayne Edlin discussed Tuesday’s events.“Take Back the Night is an event that came about in the 1970s and includes event locations that have happened worldwide. The event encourages everyone to speak up again sexual violence and support survivors. Take Back the Night is a foundation that works to achieve a world without sexual violence and hopes to create safer communities for all,” she said. “While the event began to specifically support women “reclaiming the night,” now the event hopes to support all people and all survivors of violence.”

In Richard’s discussion, he talked about his experience with being an active bystander and how it eternally affected his life.

Photo taken by Liberti Jonas-Jongebloed.

According to Richard, while attending a party in 2017, Richard prevented a sexual assault and pursued the man, the man then pulled a gun on Richard and shot him in each leg. Though Richard was a kinesiology major who played football at the State University of New York, he did not let the battle scars ruin his life. He worked through his injuries and was able to play again in the following September.

For his efforts, he was awarded A 2018 Biden Courage Award, 2018 Orange Bowl Courage Award, and the 2019 Giant Steps Award. Though Richard’s courage was rewarded, Richard said his discussion is about more than that, he said, “I hope that other students follow my lead and do what they can to prevent and stop domestic violence and sexual assault,”

In the discussion of the goal of Violence Prevention throughout the Take Back the Night event, Edlin said, “I know it’s been an important goal for office to continue the tradition of Take Back the Night for our campus community. Especially after the incredible march and rally that was organized on campus last fall, it was a huge goal to host this event and continue these conversations.”

Edlin also discussed ways everyone at UWL can be an active bystander. She said, “Awareness and advocacy can happen in daily conversations.” Richard later said, “Say something. Reach out to police or other authorities. Don’t be a bystander.”

“By continuing to promote this program and our office, we hope to continue this great work and to reach out to our students,” said Edlin. “Larger events, like Take Back the Night, give Violence Prevention a larger community reach and helps everyone feel supported. Hopefully, a combination of all these efforts will keep us moving forward.”

For more information on Take Back the Night, you can find it here https://takebackthenight.org/