March raises awareness for sexual assault victims

Participants march through downtown Bowling Green during the Take Back The Night event on Thursday evening. Groups from Warren County, along with several other surrounding counties, met at the Justice Center and marched to raise awareness for rape and sexual assault. After the march, there were several speakers, including employees from Hope Harbor, and a candlelight vigil to end the night.

Joanna Williams

About 400 people took to the streets of Bowling Green on Thursday night to stand against sexual assault.

Take Back the Night, an annual march and candlelight vigil for those affected by sexual assault, was sponsored by Hope Harbor, a local sexual trauma center.

The goal of the event is to raise awareness about sexual assault so that victims know they have advocates in the community, said Elizabeth Madariaga, sexual assault services coordinator at the Counseling and Testing Center.

The march was approximately one mile, starting at the Warren County Justice Center, circling around the square and returning back to the Justice Center.

Afterwards, participants lit candles and sung “This Little Light of Mine,” many of them with tears in their eyes.

Madariaga said she thinks the turnout was good.

“I really think Bowling Green considers itself one community and it was a really good turnout of males, females, animals and families,” she said.

Claire Donahue, a senior from Knoxville, Tenn., said this was her first time attending Take Back the Night, and she decided to come after her professor mentioned it in class.

“I’ve never attended anything like this,” she said. “They were talking about the stats, and it’s shocking. People need to speak up and let them know they have that advocate.”

Madariaga said she thinks the event was successful in raising awareness.

“I think a lot of things were apparent,” she said. “People learned a lot of statistics they didn’t know. I think the awareness was definitely there, and I think with the stats being that one out of three people will be victims in their lifetime, you know someone who’s been affected.”