The University of Toledo will join together with the community April 18 at their annual Take Back the Night event to bring awareness to domestic violence and other issues women in the community face every day.
Sharon Barnes, the interim chair of the women’s and gender studies department at UT, helped organize the event to help end violence against women here in Toledo and all over the country.
“Because we live in a culture that is largely uncritical of violence against women, and children, and men, and we sometimes even celebrate it, so this is a chance to say that we object to and reject the pervasive culture of violence and victim-blaming that we live in and we believe a better world is possible for all of us,” Barnes said.
The event will take place starting at 6 p.m. at the United Automobile Workers union on Ashland Avenue, and will be broken up into three sections, Barnes said.
The first part of the event is a resource fair where different groups will have booths set up so that people can walk around and gain a better understanding of the resources available to help them in times of crisis.
Angela Daigneault, a social worker at UT’s Counseling Center, will be working the first part of the event, where she will run the booth for the T-Shirt Clothesline Project.
Barnes said the clothesline project is her favorite part of the night.
“Every year when I hang the shirts, I recognize ones I have hung in previous years,” she said. “I think about all of the women, men and children whose lives have been so negatively impacted by violence against women, yet who came and made their shirt as a testament to their experience and their healing or to their loved ones who did not survive, and I am amazed at their strength and the power of their will to survive.”
The fair will be run from 6-7 p.m., Daigneault said, and is held “to talk about what we offer on campus."
After the research fair, there will be a women’s march and a men’s event held until 8 p.m. and afterwards there will be a survivor speak-out for the duration of the event, Barnes said.
The survivor speak-out is a part of the event where survivors in varying stages of recovery come forward to tell their story and to speak to the other members of the community about the real issue of sexual and domestic assault, Daigneault said, and is a very powerful portion of the event.
“I think there’s an education component to it,” Daigneault said. “To understand what survivors have been through, to get a better sense of community resources that are available to survivors, a huge awareness component, then an empowerment movement overall is what it is.”
The event is expected to have a large turnout this year, ranging anywhere in the past to having 100 guests to over 400 guests, according to Barnes.
Barnes said that everyone should attend in order to “show support for the cause, to demonstrate their desire to live without violence, to express their experiences with violence, and to heal.”