Take Back the Night

If you were to look outside on the night of April 10, you would have probably seen an unlikely gathering of students and teachers with lit candles in hand. This group, despite the cold, strolled up and down pathways, blocked traffic, and chanted words such as “Hey hey, ho ho, yes means yes and no means no.” This walk was one portion of the Take Back the Night march and speak out, which was put together by the Women’s Issues Club.

Castleton started getting involved with Take Back the Night 12 years ago, but it been in existence since the 70’s. Take Back the Night was created to unify communities, so they can talk out about ending rape and domestic violence.

The event also included a talk with Wynona Ward, an attorney from the group called Have Justice Will Travel, an organization which was created to help victims of violence in the home. Ward started HJWT nine years ago, and along with four other attorneys, two interns and many others, has helped over 10,000 women and children. They offer in-home consultation, where they sit in the women’s kitchen to discuss court dates and issues.

“The heart of the Have Justice model is providing direct legal representation for women and children,” Ward said.

After they handle the legal situation, HJWT handles the family’s holistic needs, helping women transition into their new abuse-free lives.

With a “patch work quilt of funding,” as Ward referred it, the group gets generous contributions from all over, including the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ever since the first week in September 1998, HJWT has helped victims overcome their problem and grow stronger from the experience.

“I can’t thank them enough,” a client of HJWT named Patricia Larkin said.
After Ward spoke, she, along with the audience and the organizers of the event, took lit candles in Dixie cups, and walked across campus, down around Main Street and back to the Campus Center.

To end the night, there was an open forum where anyone could speak out about their experiences with rape and domestic abuse.

“We will not stop violence until we stop the generational cycle of abuse.” Ward said.

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