Bowling Green, WKU set to Take Back the Night


Hope Harbor Inc., a nonprofit crisis counseling center, and WKU’s Counseling and Testing Center will be partnering with the Former Friends of Young Americans House tonight to host a Take Back the Night event and benefit concert.

The march will start at 6 p.m. at the Warren County Justice Center at 1001 Center St. Following the march and a candlelit vigil, participants are encouraged to gather at the FFOYA House at 1035 Kentucky St. for a live concert.

The event recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and is held to protest the idea of people being assaulted while walking outside at night, according to Alayna Milby, the director of crisis intervention at Hope Harbor.

“It’s to raise awareness that women should not be afraid to walk at night in fear of being assaulted,” Milby said.

Take Back the Night is projected to be the biggest event for Hope Harbor during April. Elizabeth Madriaga, co-chairwoman of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Committee, said they are expecting at least 433 people based on the number of T-shirt orders received.

“I’ve been involved with Take Back the Night since I started at WKU,” Madariaga said. “The amount of people who participate vary.”

Madariaga had served on the board at Hope Harbor for 10 years. She stepped down in February but continues to remain active through the committee.

Take Back the Night is to prevent assault from happening to both genders. Though both men and women experience sexual violence, women are more likely to encounter this trauma.

The history of Take Back the Night as an international event and nonprofit organization spans more than half a century, according to

“Decades ago in Europe, women from many countries met together as a tribunal council to discuss women’s safety when walking down public streets,” the website states.

Several notable marches and milestones have occurred in the years this movement has been active. In 1975, for instance, a march was held in Philadelphia after the murder of Susan Speeth, a microbiologist who was stabbed to death one night as she was walking alone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five women will experience rape at some point in their lives whereas one in 71 men will.

“In order to solve this problem, you have to get everyone involved,” Milby said.

Another survey conducted by the CDC showed that 37.4 percent of females who were raped were between the ages of 18 and 24, the age range of traditional college students.

“The importance is that WKU is a large portion of our community,” said Madariaga. “This is a high risk group as well, so increasing awareness is imperative.”

With these statistics, Hope Harbor and the Counseling and Testing Center decided to hold this event to bring people of all genders together to raise awareness of sexual assault.

The march will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday evening and end with a benefit concert at the FFOYA House.

This feature of the annual event was to try and help bring in more people, according to Madariaga.

“It’s a way to be inclusive, so I think the benefit will certainly help,” said Madariaga. “The more people we reach, the better off we all are.”

The concert will not be serving alcohol, so people of all ages are asked to continue the march by attending the concert afterwards.