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Anti-Violence Display and ‘Take Back The Night’ Vigil Will Raise Awareness of Sexual Assault

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April 7-10 Campaign at Rutgers University-Newark

According to the White House, 22 million American women have been raped in their lifetimes, and 1.6 million American men have been raped in their lifetimes. Only 12 percent of victims report the sexual assault.

Those are some of the reasons why Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N)  is sponsoring a Sexual Assault Awareness campaign from April 7-10 that will feature participation in both the “Clothesline Project” and a “Take Back the Night” program featuring Kevin Powell(left), as well as an anti-violence walk and a candlelight vigil for abuse victims.

“We are all affected by violence, either directly or indirectly.  Although the numbers in themselves are staggering, each one represents an altered life – not just the victim’s, but their loved ones’ as well,” states Theresa Tantay-Wilson, director, Health Promotion Division of campus Health Services. “This April, Sexual Assault Awareness month, our campus will add to the national momentum against violence in raising consciousness to decrease violence within our community.”

The director of Health Services for RU-N, Dr. Sandra Samuels, notes, “Rape is a very costly societal issue with serious physical and psychological costs. The harm caused by rape may leave permanent scars on whoever has been affected either as a victim, a relative, friend, or loved one.  Rape is not a male or female concern alone – it concerns us all!”

The campaign will begin Monday, April 7, when members of the campus community and the public are invited to participate in the Clothesline Project on the Norman Samuels Plaza (bordered by University Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Warren and Bleeker streets) on the Rutgers University-Newark campus.  Participants will write messages on the shirts, both anti-violence messages and declarations of support for victims of sexual assault and physical abuse. (In case of rain, shirts will be decorated in the Paul Robeson Campus Center.)

Kevin Powell
Speaker, Kevin Powell

The finished shirts will then be displayed on Wednesday, April 9, from noon through 3:30 p.m., as part of the campuswide fitness fair, “RU Fit 2B Happy,” on the Norman Samuels Plaza (Rain location for the Clothesline Project display and the fitness fair: the Golden Dome Athletic Center, University Avenue and Warren Street, RU-N campus.)

“Take Back the Night” activities  take place on Thursday, April 10, beginning with a 6 p.m. talk , “Let’s End Violence,” by author, public speaker, and humanitarian Kevin Powell, in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.  Powell has been active in local, national, and international efforts in the movement to end violence against women and girls, even appearing on an episode of "The Oprah Show" highlighting domestic violence. The talk is open to the public; there is no charge.

The “Take Back the Night” walk and candlelight vigil will follow the talk.  The walkers will circle the campus and then hold the vigil, including an open mike session for anyone who wants to speak up about violence.

MEDIA CONTACT: Carla Capizzi, 973/353-5262.

For information on the Clothesline Project, go to http://www.clotheslineproject.org/. For information on Take Back the Night, go to https://www.takebackthenight.org/. Powell’s biography is at http://www.kevinpowell.net/about.php.