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Take Back the Night protest puts spotlight on sexual assault

Loyola press release - October 15, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans is joining the international wave of peaceful protests to end rape and other forms of sexual violence by hosting a candlelight vigil Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. Loyola is partnering with Dillard and Tulane universities for the Crescent City’s Take Back the Night. The ceremony will begin on the Marquette lawn on Loyola’s main campus. More than 600 participants are expected to march down St. Charles Avenue and end at Tulane’s campus where survivors will share their stories.

New this year is a pre-event poetry slam set for Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at Dillard University’s Will W. Alexander Library. The spoken word performance features the Who Dat Poets and students from each of the participating universities sharing personal pieces written to raise awareness about sexual assault as well as urge consent and respect in intimate relationships. The performance is free and open to the public.

“At a time when violence, intolerance and isolation seem all too prevalent in our fragmented world, Take Back the Night serves as a beacon of hope. It is the voice of our community banded together to say that we want something better for our daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and ourselves. We want non-violence and equality. We want respect and tolerance,” said Brooks Zitzmann, chairwoman of Take Back the Night 2013 and staff counselor at Loyola.

Faculty and staff are also joining in on the Take Back the Night effort Oct. 23 by donating $5 to wear denim and teal—the color of sexual violence awareness. Starting Wednesday, Oct. 16, raffle tickets will be sold in Loyola’s Danna Student Center for a drawing held Friday, Oct. 25. Prizes include tickets for Zephyrs baseball, VooDoo Arena football, Audubon Zoo, New Orleans Ballet, World War II Museum and the House of Blues. Neiman Marcus products, a cruise on the Natchez Steamboat and more prizes are also included in the raffle.

All funds raised are distributed equally to benefit three local service groups dedicated to serving victims and survivors of gender-based violence, including the New Orleans Family Justice Center, Metropolitan Center for Women and Children and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program. Last year, the fundraising effort raised more than $2,200.

Take Back the Night is going social this year. Follow the conversation on Twitter and track #NOLATBTN2013 to join in Loyola’s virtual Take Back the Night march. For media interviews, please contact Loyola’s Associate Director of Public Affairs Mikel Pak at 504-861-5448.