Sophia is holding a rally tonight to empower victims of violence and raise awareness about violence against women.
The group is leading a Take Back the Night rally, which started in England and arrived in the United States in 1978.
It was originally designed to remember women who were not allowed to walk alone at night, but Take Back the Night has also become a way to show solidarity with women who have been victims of violence in any form.
“The whole purpose of the rally is to take a stand against the fact that it has become dangerous in our society for a woman to be out by herself at night,” sophomore Ali Jepsen said.
The rally will take place outside the Brenton Student Center in the Circle of Knowledge, but if the weather is bad it will be rescheduled for Friday – inside BSC.
Regardless of weather, anyone is welcome to attend.
“We would love for everyone on campus to get involved and have a good time in the process,” sophomore Angela Haney said.
The group will hold a candlelight vigil and Beth Jorgensen, assistant professor of English, will share her own impressions of domestic violence. The rally will end with a moment of silence to remember the many women who are affected by violence.
The group’s adviser, Professor of English Nancy St. Clair, doesn’t know what the turnout will be like, but she’s hopeful.
“Sophia has taken off this year…we’ll hope for a good turnout, but I will be delighted no matter what,” St. Clair said.
According to junior Jamie Olberding, Take Back the Night is an opportunity for people to come together and protest rape and other forms of violence against women.
“We hope to bring a sense of awareness to the campus about these issues,” Olberding said. “Whether there are five people or 100 people in attendance, those who do show up are affected, so numbers are not the primary concern.”
This isn’t the first Take Back the Night rally at Simpson. Two years ago Sophia and Alpha Chi Omega sponsored a rally.
“Two years ago they walked around campus chanting,” senior Becka Neary said. “This year it will be a more intimate and personal atmosphere for those in attendance.”
According to Neary, while the rally is designed to gain attention, it’s also a way for those who have experienced violence to reclaim their individuality and themselves. Overall, she hopes the event will make others aware that violence against women does occur and it can’t be ignored.
Jepsen said Take Back the Night is designed for anyone who’s interested, not just women.
“Though this rally is for a woman’s cause, men are wanted and highly encouraged to come to this event,” Jepsen said.
Jepsen, like St. Clair, is hopeful that a small event can have a large impact.
“I hope this rally will make people realize that, even though we’re in a town like Indianola, men and women alike need to acknowledge that violence against women is a problem in our society,” Jepsen said. “Keeping in mind recent acts of vandalism on our campus, it is easy to see that people do not take violence and hatred against women as seriously as they should.”