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Students to Take a Stand Against Sexual Assault, Gendered Violence

Students, faculty, and community members will gather Saturday, April 21, to raise awareness of violence against women.

The event will begin with a 6:30 p.m. rally in Amitié Plaza, outside the Angel College Center and continue in the College Center’s Warren Ballrooms, where survivors will speak out. In addition, there will be spoken-word and musical performances throughout the night.

While the event always included a march through the streets of Plattsburgh in the past, this year’s program will not include the march.

The decision to not march in the streets came in reaction to the Plattsburgh’s Common Council’s decision, earlier this month to confine the march to the sidewalk, said Simona Sharoni, professor and chair of the college’s Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. Sharoni added that the march had taken place for three years prior – with a permit and close collaboration with the city and the police.

“While elected officials cited safety concerns as the primary reason for denying our request to march in the street, after much deliberation, we concluded that it will not be safe for several hundred students to march downtown on narrow sidewalks while traffic is in motion,” Sharoni said.

Take Back the Night events and marches have been taking place in the United States for more than three decades. The event at SUNY Plattsburgh has been a 30-year. In fact, the feminists who founded SUNY Plattsburgh’s Center for Women’s Concerns in the 1970s were among the first in the nation to organize such an event. 

National statistics indicate that in the United States, a woman is sexually assaulted every 10 seconds. According to these statistics one in four women may experience sexual assault in her lifetime. Scholars and advocates who have studied and worked to end violence against women point out that rape and sexual assault, like other forms of violence against women, remain largely underreported. 

The annual event is designed to protest the physical and sexual violence that plagues the lives of so many women and some men in our society. In addition to raising awareness and educating the community about the problem, Take Back the Night is organized to support and empower survivors of sexual assault and other forms of gendered violence.  

Last year more than 350 people took part in the event. Organizers anticipate the attendance to be similar this year. 

“Although we were disappointed with the council’s decision, we are excited about the event planned for this year and hope that members of the community will join us,” Sharoni said. 

The event is free and open to the community.

For more information contact Dr. Simona Sharoni at 518-564-3026 (office) or 518-572-4412 (cell) or Jamila Hinton, president of the Center for Women’s Concerns at 347-255-3244 (cell).

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