Blacksburg’s 22nd annual Take Back the Night Rally and March will be held March 31 on the Virginia Tech Drillfield. 

The purpose of the rally and candlelight march is to bring the community together to protest violence against women and promote awareness of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that perpetuate violence.

Participants will assemble from 6:30–7 p.m. in front of the War Memorial Chapel. The rally will take place from 7–7:30 p.m., followed by a march through campus and downtown Blacksburg, returning to the Drillfield for a closing celebration. The march route is accessible for disabled persons. The rain location is the Wesley Foundation at the corner of Roanoke and Otey Streets.

“Womanspace encourages everyone to take action to change our society — a society in which women have reason to fear being out alone at night,” said Susan Anderson, senior instructor in mathematics in the College of Science and faculty advisor for Womanspace, the student organization that coordinates the rally and march.

Women, men, and children are encouraged to march, either as individuals or as part of a group. Organizations are invited to bring signs or a group banner in support of Take Back the Night, which is part of the Women’s Month 2011 awareness campaign.

Each participant is asked to wear a purple ribbon tied with a knot for every friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted. Ribbons will be worn throughout Women’s Month to show support for victims and to protest sexual violence against all people. Purple ribbons will be available at information tables at Take Back the Night and each weekday at the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, located at 206 Washington St.

The first Take Back the Night event was held in Germany in 1973 in response to a series of sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. Five years later in the United States, a Take Back the Night march was held in San Francisco; more than 5,000 women from 30 states participated. Since then, marches have been held in many cities throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, India, and Europe. In Virginia, Take Back the Night marches have been held in Richmond and Charlottesville, and at Hollins University, Radford University, Roanoke College, and Virginia Tech.

Sponsoring organizations include AdvanceVT, Amnesty International, Coalition for Justice, Cooper House, Cranwell International Center, Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech, International Women in Need, League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, LGBTA, Montgomery County National Organization for Women, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Panhellenic Council, Raft Crisis Hotline, Sexual Assault and Violence Education by Students, Sexual Violence Prevention Council, the Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, Virginia Tech Campus Ministers Association, Virginia Tech Union, Wesley Foundation at Virginia Tech, Womanspace, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, Women’s Month 2011 Advisory Committee, Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, Young Democrats at Virginia Tech, and YMCA.

For more information, e-mail Anderson or contact her by phone at (540) 231-8041.



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