Saint Mary's and Notre Dame "Take Back the Night"

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
(574) 284-4579

April 19, 2011 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—The Saint Mary's College Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) and the University of Notre Dame Gender Relations Center (GRC) are co-sponsoring Take Back the Night (TBTN), Thursday, April 28. The schools are recognized as one of the TBTN Foundation's “10 Points of Light”—10 locations across the country that will stand in solidarity on the same night, lighting candles to support survivors and to raise awareness for sexual violence and rape. The purpose of TBTN is to literally break the silence surrounding this violence with voices of prayer, chanting and the sharing of stories. Though intended for Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students, the event is open to the public. The media may cover everything but the Speak Out, in order to respect the privacy of those who intend to share their personal stories.

Here is a rundown of the events:

o   7 p.m. Kick Off - Lake Marian, Saint Mary's College

o   7:30 p.m. Candlelight Vigil - Grotto, University of Notre Dame

o   8 p.m. March – University of Notre Dame

o   8:30 p.m. Speak Out and Bonfire - Holy Cross Hill, University of Notre Dame (not open to media)

“Take Back the Night allows men and women to stand in solidarity with survivors of rape and sexual assault and show a commitment to preventing this violence from happening in our community,” said Connie Adams, assistant director of BAVO.

According to information provided by BAVO, issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking impact college-age women at disproportionately higher rates than other populations. National statistics indicate that one out of every six women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime; college-aged women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted; and 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported (source: Rape, Abuse & Incest Network). One in four women experiences relationship violence in her lifetime; and women who are between the ages of 20-24 are at the greatest risk for nonfatal relationship violence (source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Saint Mary's College and the University of Notre Dame have co-sponsored TBTN in previous years, though this is the first time BAVO has been involved since the office opened in the fall of 2010.

About the Belles Against Violence Office: In 2009, Saint Mary's College received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, which the College used to establish BAVO. Under the direction of an assistant director, the office addresses and educates students on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and provides them with the support they need.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary’s College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the U.S. News & World Report 2011 College Guide. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.