ST. CLOUD --One in three women in Minnesota will be sexually or physically assaulted at some point in their life.

It's a grim statistic that motivated over a hundred people to attend St. Cloud's annual Take Back The Night rally and march Thursday evening in Barden Park.

Take Back the Night was founded in the 1970s as a way for women to speak out and support one another regarding sexual and domestic violence. Central Minnesota's march began in 1982.

Now, in the wake of the #metoo movement, Rebecca Kotz with the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center (CMSAC) says the event is as relevant as ever.

“The theory behind Take Back the Night is that no one should have to fear walking alone in the dark – which is a fear that most, if not all, women still have.”

This year's event marks milestones for the three local organizations at its helm. The SCSU Women's Center formed 30 years ago. CMSAC was incorporated 35 years ago. Anna Marie's Alliance opened its doors to victims of domestic violence 40 years ago.

The event kicked off with live music, a reading of "Still I Rise," a poem by Maya Angelou, speeches and personal stories. Attendees visited booths offering information on assault resources and viewed a display by the Clothesline Project, which features t-shirts bearing messages by abuse survivors and allies.

Take Back the Night

The event ended with a march from the park through the St. Cloud State Campus and into downtown St. Cloud.

 

Peggy LaDue, CMSAC's Executive Director, says the event provides a safe environment for people to express their emotions.

“Sexual violence and domestic violence continue, day after day, year after year," LaDue says. "We need to continue to provide a place for justified rage to be released. We should be outraged about the levels of sexual violence.”

Kotz believes the march through St. Cloud leaves a particularly strong impression on attendees, year after year.

“Being loud is so counter what we’re told to be as women," Kotz says. We’re told to be quiet and submissive and just swallow pain. So I think that’s why this is so important for women and survivors and their allies.”