By Scott Tibbs, October 1, 2008
As I have done for the last several years, I attended the annual Take Back the Night march to protest and raise awareness of rape and domestic violence. TBTN was sponsored by the Women's Student Association, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and the IU Office of Women's Affairs.
Toby Strout of Middle Way House addressed the group, pointing out that while the perception of rape is a stranger in a dark alley, 88% of rape victims are raped by someone they know. "Acquaintance rape" adds betrayal to violence, causing more trauma. Middle Way House is a local organization that provides counseling and shelter to victims of rape and domestic violence. Donate to Middle Way House here.
Another speaker (speaking under a pseudonym) told the group that an estimated 65% of rapes go unreported, and 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted. She urged the crowd to turn their anger into change. A list of women killed as a result of domestic violence was read and the crowd had a moment of silence. One of those women was Teresa Farrell. The man who murdered her, Michael Fultz, had a long criminal history, including an incident where he strangled his teenage girlfriend.
As is usually the case, many more women attended than men. I was disappointed by the lack of male attendance at TBTN. This is not just a women's issue - it is a human rights issue and men need to be active in raising awareness of violence against women. As is often the case, we need a cultural change to truly win the fight against rape. There are too many instances where the victim is blamed for the attack on her. Men need to understand that it is always morally depraved to take advantage of a woman, especially when she is impaired by alcohol.
Following are pictures from the event.