Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington's Gender Equality Solidarity Society is holding its "Take Back the Night" event in Lancaster this year for the first time. The annual rally has been held at the Pickerington Center for the last seven years.
"I was at a candlelight vigil this month and I heard Lancaster Police Chief Dave Bailey say that of the murders in Lancaster last year, domestic violence was at the forefront," said GESS Advisor Pam Kaylor. "Symbolically, we take back the night, a time in which women and children are afraid to walk, to start a new day of empowerment and unity. This is an international movement."
The purpose of the OUL Gender Equality Solidarity Society is to promote an awareness of gender equality to university students and the community at large. In addition, the Gender Equality Solidarity Society provides an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni, and staff to coordinate and participate in gender related activities, conferences, resource services and a generally gender equal environment for the benefit of students and the community. The "Take Back the Night" event will be held on Wednesday, October 30 at 6 p.m. on the Lancaster Campus. The event is free and open to the public.
"Our speakers this year include women who will tell their stories of survival and representatives of agencies that work diligently to stop violence," said Kaylor. "Judy Seifert will share 'Stephy's Story' in memory of her beautiful daughter who was tragically murdered last year in Lancaster."
Other speakers at the event will also talk about issues in the news like sex trafficking and Ohio University Lancaster Deaf Studies and Interpreting Assistant Professor Dr. Becky Brooks will make a presentation.
"Alli Kisker, an OUL Alum, from BRAVO will give an anti-violence speech," said Kaylor. "We will also have a number of readings and poems."
"Take Back the Night" is part of "Take Back the Power Day" at OUL.There will be faculty and staff training, as well as training for students and community members. Information tables will be set up from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Fairfield Medical Center will have an information table.OUL will also be a "bra drop off" station for anyone who wants to donate bras to be donated to The Lighthouse, a domestic violence shelter.
"When women leave in domestic violence situations, they do not take much and are in need of bras because they cannot get these at the Salvation Army like they can other clothing," said Kaylor.
"Take Back the Night" at the Lancaster Campus and Pickerington Center was started by Women and Gender Studies students and students in those classes continue to contribute to the organization and planning of the event. Immediately following the event is an optional self-defense class and it will be taught by Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier.