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Take Back the Night Planning Committee members are pictured above with WIU Women's Center Director Janine Cavicchia, left, WIU President Jack Thomas, center, and WIRC-CAA Victim Services Director Diane Mayfield signing the 2013 Take Back the Night proclamation, which also was signed by Macomb Mayor Mike Inman (not pictured).
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Take Back the Night Oct. 17 at WIU

October 10, 2013

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MACOMB, IL - As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the 24th annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) march and rally at Western Illinois University will be begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. This year's theme is "It's Black and White, Take Back the Night!"

According to WIU Interpersonal Violence Prevention Initiative (IVPI) Graduate Assistant Chanel Lane, who serves on the TBTN 2013 planning committee, the theme is in response to the Robin Thicke song, "Blurred Lines."

"The planning committee wants to make sure students and other members of the campus and local communities know that the law is clear, and when it comes to consent there are no gray areas or blurred lines," Lane said.

The event is sponsored by the WIU Women's Center and the Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency (WIRC-CAA) Victim Services Program, along with the IVPI, Feminist Action Alliance (FAA), the University Counseling Center and numerous other campus and community offices and organizations.

Women's Center Graduate Assistant and a graduate student in WIU's college student personnel program Alicia Guzman-Riley, who advises FAA and is serving as chair of this year's planning committee, said the event is held each year to increase awareness of, and seek an end to, dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other forms of power-based interpersonal violence, as well as to remember and honor victims and survivors.

University Counseling Center and Victim Services staff and volunteers will be available at the march and rally to talk with participants.

TBTN 2013 will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Sherman Hall circle drive with resource table displays and information provided by campus and community offices and organizations that provide violence prevention efforts and survivor support services. T-shirts and light sticks will be for sale.

The rally begins at 7 p.m. on the steps of Sherman Hall with a reading of the proclamation, which has been signed by WIU President Jack Thomas, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman, WIU Women's Center Director Janine Cavicchia and Victim Services Director Diane Mayfield, followed by a featured speaker, performers and remarks by campus and community resource providers.

This year's guest speaker will be WIU alumna Kerri True-Funk, who is the executive director of Rape Advocacy, Counseling and Education Services in Urbana, IL. Funk, who is a 2006 graduate of WIU with a degree in Women's Studies, was a cast member of Western's 2005 production of "The Vagina Monologues." Through her experience as a case manager for people with mental illness, Funk has learned the long-term effects that interpersonal violence can have in people's lives.

Funk began working in the anti-violence movement in 2007 as a hotline volunteer for the local rape crisis center and became the legal advocate shortly after. In 2008, she became the program director of the rape crisis center, and in 2009, she led the agency in becoming a standalone rape crisis center. Currently, she is working on her master's degree at the University of Illinois in Springfield.

The march will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. at Sherman Circle, pass by Spoon River College and the WIRC-CAA Victim Services offices and end at Chandler Park. The rally will continue with a survivor speak-out, remarks from several student leaders about ways students can get involved in interpersonal violence prevention and a closing musical performance.

Guzman-Riley and Ryne Davis, a graduate student in sociology and the graduate advisor of Men Advocating Non-Violence (MAN) will serve as emcees for this year's event. WIU students Leah Juenger and Tuesdai Perry will each read a poem they have written for the event, and Chanel and John Lane will do a musical performance.

Anyone who would like to participate but is unable to walk the route may contact the Women's Center prior to the march to sign up for a ride.

Participants may buy light sticks for $1 each and make a suggested $2 donation for luminaries in honor of victims and survivors of rape, incest, domestic violence, sexual abuse and other forms of sexual violence. Take Back the Night t-shirts will be available for $10 for WIU students and $12 for non-students. Shirts also will be available at the Women's Center; Multicultural Center, room 209; and will be sold in the University Union Concourse from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Oct. 14-16.

"Please tell your friends, family, organization members, students, staff, faculty and Macomb area community members about TBTN and encourage them to attend the march and rally," Guzman-Riley said. "It is a memorable and powerful experience, and it's a great opportunity to come together and take a stand against interpersonal violence. We hope many will participate, and we encourage individuals to bring their own signs and groups to bring their own banners to carry during the march and proudly declare their support of, and presence at, the event."

According to Cavicchia, the event has grown from about 40 participants the first year to include more than 500 women, men and children in recent years.

"Our campus and community event has become the largest in the state of Illinois," Cavicchia said. "We invite and welcome attendance by WIU, Macomb High School, Spoon River College and Monmouth College students and employees, and other members of the Macomb and surrounding communities who are interested in learning more about what they can do to speak out and help end interpersonal violence."

The WIRC-CAA Victim Services program provides free and confidential services in a safe environment for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough and Warren counties. The agency's trained staff are ready to provide emergency services, advocacy, counseling, professional training and public education.

For more information, contact Guzman-Riley at the Women's Center (309) 298-2242 or at, or WIRC-CAA Victim Services at (309) 837-6622.

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