Community invited to hear survivor stories, participate in candlelight vigil and silent march
TAMPA, Fla. (April 1, 2014) – Driven by the experiences of sexual violence survivors and inspired by an international movement, USF will hold its 8th annual Take Back the Night at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 3 in the Marshall Student Center Amphitheater.
Both men and women are welcome for the event, which includes a candlelight vigil, silent march and survivor speak-out against sexual violence. Studies estimate that one in four women and one in 33 men are victims of sexual violence.
Among the organizers is USF student Elizabeth Moschella. Moschella is a sexual violence survivor who took the courageous step of posting a video about her experience on YouTube after attending Take Back the Night a few years ago. Moschella’s time at the event inspired her to continue sharing her story publicly in hopes of helping others in similar situations. She’s now president of the USF student organization N.I.T.E. (Network. Improve. Transform. Empower), which aims to educate students and the surrounding community about sexual and domestic violence.
At Thursday’s event, Cheryl Ricciardi, the Florida Statewide Crisis Response Coordinator, will deliver the keynote address, followed by USF Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Miller leading the men in the REAL (Relationship Equality and Anti-violence League) Men’s Promise to end sexual and relationship violence. This promise is a commitment for men to take a stand against violence towards women and the culture that fosters it.
Later, attendees will walk together around the heart of campus in a silent march, which will be followed by a “speak-out” for survivors and allies to share their experiences. Next, a candlelight vigil will honor all survivors of sexual violence. A musical piece will be played by Hiram Rios to conclude the evening.
This empowering and educational event will be hosted by N.I.T.E., in collaboration with the USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention. The Clothesline Project of Tampa Bay and Paws for Justice are also involved in organizing Take Back the Night.
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.