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Community gathers to ‘Take Back the Night’

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Community gathers to ‘Take Back the Night’

Rebecca Mayo

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Dozens of students and members of the community will march from Third Street Park to Washington Square Park to raise awareness about sexual assault. The Crisis Line and Safe House’s annual “Take Back the Night” event will take place April 14 from 7 – 9 p.m. in downtown Macon.

April is sexual assault awareness month, and Macon’s Crisis Line and Safe House is taking steps to inform the public that sexual assault and violence do exist in our community and in areas all over the country.

This empowering downtown march will include a candlelight vigil, during which survivors of sexual assaults will share their own experiences and encourage participants to take a stand against the issue.

Third Street and Cherry will mark the beginning of the march and participants will march the path to Washington Square, where the program will kick off.

This year will mark the fourth year of Take Back the Night. Survivors, participants, family and friends are determined to spread awareness and make the community aware that this is a serious issue that should not be overlooked.

Dottie Stafford, sexual assault advocacy program director for Crisis Line, explained her hopes for this year’s event and why it is so important to the community.

“The main objective of this event is to make sure that we all know that this problems exist and to let survivors know that they’re not alone,”  Stafford said.

Stafford also expressed the importance of how the community’s understanding of the sexual assault problems that exist within society can ultimately make a difference and help save lives.

“It is important to know that we as a community can work towards changing the culture of sexual violence,” Stafford said.

This year, Take Back the Night will feature different groups such as the Macon Police Department, the sheriff’s office, Bibb County Victim Assistance Program, the Family Counseling Center and Mercer’s STOP program. The Clothesline Project and Post-Secret will also be on scene at this year’s event.

“There are many services available where individuals can find what they can do for help,” Stafford said.

Stafford also encouraged all Mercer students to get involved.

“We love to have student participation,” Stafford said. “We are always looking for volunteers.”

The Crisis Line and Safe House of Central Georgia is a nonprofit organization located in Macon that is funded by local, state and federal grants as well as community contributions.

Crisis Line’s goal is to provide crisis intervention, comprehensive services, support and a safe shelter for victims of violent crimes, including sexual assault and domestic violence. One of the other main objectives is to educate the community about the cycle of violence and prevention.

Programs for families and victims are offered on a daily basis through the Crisis Line.

The organization is also open for caring individuals to volunteer. Some requirements are that you must be over 18 years of age and pass a background check. Other requirements can be found at the following website: http://www.cl-sh.org/Who-can-volunteer-.html.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, you can call the Crisis Hotline at 478-745-9292 to speak with someone immediately.

 

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Community gathers to ‘Take Back the Night’