Saint Martin's University hosts Take Back the Night

December 1, 2009

Lacey, Washington — On Wednesday, December 2, Saint Martin’s University will hold its first Take Back the Night event, an internationally held rally intended as a forum against sexual assault, rape, and other forms of violence. This event, which will include a candlelight vigil, a march, and a discussion, is free and open to the public.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are invited to gather at 6 p.m. for a candlelight vigil in the courtyard in front of St. Martin’s Abbey. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a march from the courtyard to the University residence halls ending at the Trautman Union Building for a discussion on sexual violence. Mary Pontarolo, executive director of Safeplace Olympia, an advocacy agency and confidential shelter for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Thurston County, will be one of the speakers.

“The importance of this event is to foster an even greater sense of community at Saint Martin’s, one that doesn’t tolerate sexual assault or violence of any kind,” said Keri Olsen, a graduate intern in the Women’s Studies Program at Saint Martin’s.

College campuses and communities around the world hold Take Back the Night events throughout the year, primarily during the months of October, November, March, and April to tie in with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Women’s History Month, and Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. Each event has its own agenda, but often includes a candlelight vigil; a march or walk; an open mic forum or speak out; presentations by local law enforcement officers, agency representatives, governmental and school leaders, professors and other knowledgeable experts; and a survivor support circle.

Since the late 1970s through present day, Take Back The Night events have been held by college and university women’s centers, YWCAs, rape crisis centers, community centers, battered women’s shelters, and other organizations dedicated to helping women achieve safety and empowerment. Today, events highlight the problem of violence against women as well as the broader issues of sexual violence: sexual assault, rape, dating violence, sexual abuse, domestic violence, sexual harassment, child abuse, and other unhealthy relationships. Men are also lending their voices and standing as survivors at most events. All events strive to bring awareness to the problem of sexual violence and support those who have been victimized.

For more information about the December 2 event, contact Lindsay Scalf at For more information about other Take Back The Night events, visit

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its five extension campuses located at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic College, Centralia College, and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Genevieve Canceko Chan
Director of Communications & Marketing