Yesterday I wrote about Take Back the Night at CSU, a fight against violence. My ignorance reigned in that article, I stand corrected.

Take 19

I attended the event with my 17 year old daughter. I have mentioned before that my Ashley has started a club at her high school to benefit and bring awareness to the good works being done at the Child Advocacy Center in Fort Collins; this event was something that she wanted to attend to further educate herself. When I asked Ashley why she wanted to go she said that it was important to her to know more about how this violence affects our community. She told me that in order to better help the efforts of the CAC, she would have to know more about this horrible act against mankind. As a mother, how could I be anything but proud of this? And how could I not support her?

I learned so much from Take Back the Night, I am thankful to these brave and courageous people that are willing to strip away all pretenses and expose themselves so not only they, but us to can heal from such violence. The heading of my article on April 25, 2012 was "Fort Collins and CSU: Fighting to End Violence Against Women", here's where I was wrong. First of all, no one is fighting, we are surviving and educating. Secondly, this is not a crime or violence against only women. I found last night that many men are affected as well. The stories I heard are private and I won't share any details, just know that sexual violence happens to children, to boys and to girls, to adults, both men and women and it has to end. Thirdly, I learned that this abuse can happen at the hands of a parent, a friend, a school teacher... I learned that the perpetrator can be a man or a woman... they can be boyfriends and girlfriends, yours or your parents... I learned that the pain is real and likely will never completely heal, but the scars can become less sensitive and can create courage and greatness. I apologize that I singled out the women and didn't give proper care in addressing this issue. To all of the men and boys that have been affected by this violence, I appreciate, your strength and your stories. Thank you for being courageous and for educating us. May your scars fade quickly and your dreams take charge.

The first hour of the event is an open mic setting where people get up and share their stories. The courage by all is amazing and together the community heals. After the open mic session the group marches with signs and chants by police escort from CSU to old town square. As you gather to head out on the march they hand out a piece of paper with chants that the group will recite as they march. My initial reaction to this was "I am not a chanter, but I will march"... before we hit old town, guess who was chanting? Yep, me!

I asked Ashley on the way home what she got from the event and what moved her the most. She told me that she learned about the good in people, that everyone has something to heal from and that the most touching part of the night was the march. I asked her why the march, thinking myself that it was the open mic session that touched me the most; she said it was the unity, the chanting, the community support-it really touched her. Thank you Take Back the Night, for what you meant to me and for showing my daughter a community of love.

Take Back the Night is an annual event, it is designed to create awareness and spread information. 1 in 4 will become a victim, hopefully with events like this our unity will inspire a positive change and together we can eliminate the violence. Take Back the Night is a national event.

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