Take Back the Night: Standing for victims

Kim Navarro, One in Three Club president; Sandy Maas, club vice president; Rebekah Reza, senior psychology major; Roxanna Bautista, sophomore psychology major; Lili Gradilla, intercultural program coordinator; and Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs, hold a candlelight vigil Friday in honor of victims of sexual violence and abuse. The vigil was part of Take Back the Night, an event One in Three hosted to raise awareness about sexual assault and to offer support to victims. / photo by Katie Madden

Kristina Bugante
News Editor

The University of La Verne’s One In Three club held “Take Back The Night” last Friday, an event on campus aimed to speak out against and raise awareness of sexual assault.

The Take Back The Night Foundation is a non-profit organization that holds events internationally to advocate ending all types of sexual assault, including domestic violence, dating violence and sexual abuse. One In Three has recently opened a chapter of the Take Back The Night Foundation on campus.

“We know that it’s an issue, but we also know that it’s something that’s not widely addressed,” said senior business administration major Sandy Mass, vice president of One In Three.

This past February, Campus Safety sent out a campus-wide email announcing that the University will work with the La Verne Police Department on an investigation for an alleged sexual assault between two La Verne students.

Junior business administration major Kimberly Navarro, president of One in Three, said the issues of sexual assault in the University are what brought “Take Back The Night” to La Verne.

“We never noticed anybody actually bringing it up, never actually making a big deal out of it,” Navarro said.

Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs, revealed during the event that the University will be launching an online program called “Think About It.” The program, which will be required for all new students, will educate students about sexual violence prevention. “Think About It” will be launched either during the summer or the beginning of the school year.

“We’re really excited about to help bring awareness, a voice,” Rahmani said.

One In Three also works closely with House of Ruth in Pomona, which provides services and programs to assist women and children that are homeless and victimized by domestic violence or any other type of abuse.

Navarro said One In Three’s profits go to help fund House of Ruth’s programs.

“We want to see them thrive,” she said. “We want to see more programs for people who need the help.”

The University’s Counseling and Psychological Services had a table at the event’s resource fair, where they provided pamphlets on the counseling center’s services and resources they have for the campus community.

CAPS also provided “vision rocks” for students to paint on encouraging messages to those who have experienced sexual assault. The rocks, which represent strength, had messages such as “It’s not your fault!” and “You are where you’re supposed to be.”

CAPS provides individual, couples, group and family counseling to all enrolled students, including graduate students, CAPA, law and international students.

“Therapy is one part of the journey, but also finding support in outside resources is important,” said Julee LaMott, a therapist at CAPS.

Unplugged Budz, a startup company formed by the Business Integrated Program at the University, sold wireless Bluetooth earbuds at the resource fair. All of their profits go to benefit House of Ruth.

At the end of the night, a candlelight vigil around the Rock was held to honor victims and survivors of sexual assault. The intimate group at the vigil discussed the differences between “victims” and “survivors.”

“When a person says they are a victim (of abuse), then they feel like they failed or did something wrong,” Navarro said.

“When you say you’re a survivor, something happened to you but you overcame it, better (and) stronger than ever.”

The phrase “Take Back The Night” symbolizes the power victims should have to report violence and assault, “taking back the night” that was stolen from them.

“We just want to be there for somebody,” Maas said. “We also want to end that stigma that’s on these topics. It’s never the victims’ fault, and we just want them to know that we’re here to help them.”

Kristina Bugante can be reached at kristina.bugante@laverne.edu.

Special Report: The Courage to Heal
The Courage to Heal: Life after sexual assault
Rape Culture: The media's role in normalizing assault
Take Back the Night: Standing for victims

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