Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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“Take Back the Night” empowers participants

By Erin Seaberg

One in four women will be sexually assaulted on a college campus. Last week, Winona State University hosted “Take Back The Night” to help stop sexual violence in college communities.

“Take Back the Night” is an event that takes place nation wide during the third week of April. The purpose the event is to raise awareness about sexual violence and assault while giving survivors a place to share their stories.

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Tamara Berg, the director of women and gender studies at Winona State, said, “Take back the night is about empowering students and community members to recognize the extent of the problem of sexual violence in our society and celebrate the power of survivors.”

The event, which was located in Kryzsko Commons due to rain, started with a speak-out session at 6 p.m. During this time numerous survivors and supporters spoke about their experience with sexual violence. Both women and men survivors shared their stories. Students and community members gathered in the Art Tye Lounge and Student Union area to listen to and support the speakers. Each person who spoke received a flower, applause and multiple hugs after sharing their story. Trained advocates and information about the Women’s Resource Center were available for extra support.

“I thought this event was very moving,” Britney Rybarczyk, a student who attended the event, said. “Seeing how many people have been affected by this and how it has changed their lives really opened my eyes. It made me want to do something about it and I feel like by being at the speak-out, I’m taking a step in that direction.”

Representatives from the Women’s Resource Center as well as many student clubs spoke at the event. A representative from Winona area law enforcement gave another point of view about the ways that sexual violence impacts the community. He told multiple stories about lives that were lost and relationships that were ruined by sexual violence.

The speak-out session ended with a reading by students from Eve Ensler’s piece, “Over It”.


An optional march around town was planned to follow the speak-out session but was canceled due to unfavorable weather. On a typical year around 70 people would have participated in the march. Candles were lit throughout the event in honor of the victims of sexual violence. T-shirts and buttons were sold in order to help raise money for the cause. Attendees and participants also had the opportunity to socialize and support each other over a meal following the speak-out. Flags have been placed on the Winona State, Saint Mary’s, and Southeast Technical college campuses in honor of the victims that the Women’s Resource Center has helped in the past year.

This event has taken place for the past six years on campus. It is expected to continue taking place in the future. Berg said, “It’s an event that we as a university are committed to, and we have a strong partnership with the Women’s Resource Center. Sharing these stories gives a real sense of empowerment. I hope people leave feeling empowered.”


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