Campus / Community / Featured / News / October 22, 2014

Rally raises voices of abuse survivors

Members of SASS and supporters of Safe Harbor gather outside the Lake Storey Pavilion for the Take Back the Night candlelight vigil Tuesday, Oct. 21. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Members of SASS and supporters of Safe Harbor gather outside the Lake Storey Pavilion for the Take Back the Night candlelight vigil Tuesday, Oct. 21. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Safe Harbor Family Crisis Center’s 21st “Take Back the Night Rally” drew residents of the Galesburg and Knox students to Lake Storey Pavillion on Tuesday night. The theme of the event was “Taking Back the Power to Write Our Own Happily Ever After.”

After several presentations and speeches by Safe Harbor staff, audience members were invited to share their stories of dealing with domestic abuse and relationship violence.

“I think it gives people who have experienced abuse a place where they are not alone and they can share their stories,” senior Becky Gonshak said.

Junior Jess Hale shared her poem, “The body is a timeline,” which she had written prior to the rally.

“It’s pretty powerful, and I wish days like this could continue on, and not just be one-night things,” Hale said of the event.

The event was emceed by former mayor Bob Sheehan, who has “always” been a supporter of Safe Harbor, he said.

“The message is getting, and the organization has succeeded in getting, the public to talk about this, and agencies are beginning to see this as the problem that it is,” he said.

Three hundred sixty-nine books and 211 pens hang in the walls of the Lake Storey Pavilion to signify the number of women and children who have escaped abuse. Safe Harbor's Take Back The Night event focused on "Taking Back the Power to Write Our Own Happily Ever After" Tuesday, Oct. 21. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Three hundred sixty-nine books and 211 pens hang in the walls of the Lake Storey Pavilion to signify the number of women and children who have escaped abuse. Safe Harbor’s Take Back The Night event focused on “Taking Back the Power to Write Our Own Happily Ever After” Tuesday, Oct. 21. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

The back wall of the event hall was lined with paper cutouts of books and pens to respectively represent the adult and child clients Safe Harbor has assisted. There were a total of 369 adults and 211 children represented in the display.

Safe Harbor intern and Monmouth College senior Sophi Morhardt said that events like Take Back the Night bring attention to the magnitude of the issue of domestic abuse.

“After working [at Safe Harbor], you realize how common it is. Events like this just bring awareness to so many people,” she said.

Fellow Monmouth senior and Safe Harbor intern Nikki Klein said that through the rally, abuse survivors can recognize that there are others like them in their community.

“I think it helps them realize that there are other people out there just like them and they’re not alone,” she said. “I think it’s a great thing for the community.”

Junior Cassie McLaughlin lights candles with other members of SASS during Safe Harbor's Take Back the Night candlelight vigil Tuesday, Oct. 21 in the Lake Storey Pavilion. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Junior Cassie McLaughlin lights candles with other members of SASS during Safe Harbor’s Take Back the Night candlelight vigil Tuesday, Oct. 21 in the Lake Storey Pavilion. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

The event concluded with a candlelight vigil outside. People held candles to honor those who have survived abuse and who continue to experience it.

Several survivors said in their speeches that they often blamed themselves for the abuse they experienced instead of the perpetrator. Safe Harbor staff recognized that this is a common reaction, but said that abuse is never the victim’s fault.

“It’s all about power and control — the victims blame themselves so many times,” Morhardt said. “Events like this only make them stronger.”

This issue reaches beyond just what was exhibited or displayed at the rally, Hale said.

“People should feel like a survivor every day. Just don’t give up,” she said.

Rachel Landman, Editor-in-Chief
Rachel Landman is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. This is her fourth year working for TKS after working as a News Editor her sophomore and junior years. She worked as a volunteer writer as a freshman. Rachel is the recipient of two first place awards from the Illinois College Press Association for investigative reporting and news story. She became involved in journalism during her senior year of high school as one of the founding members of the student newspaper at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School in Albuquerque, N.M.
@rachellandman_
Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot.

Twitter: @KateMishkin

Tags:  Becky Gonshak Bob Sheehan domestic abuse Jess Hale Lake Storey Pavillion Monmouth College safe harbor Safe Harbor Family Crisis Center take back the night

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Rachel Landman
Rachel Landman is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. This is her fourth year working for TKS after working as a News Editor her sophomore and junior years. She worked as a volunteer writer as a freshman. Rachel is the recipient of two first place awards from the Illinois College Press Association for investigative reporting and news story. She became involved in journalism during her senior year of high school as one of the founding members of the student newspaper at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School in Albuquerque, N.M. @rachellandman_




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