Gannon University is asking the community to join its students, faculty and staff in a march to raise awareness of and bring an end to rape and sexual violence.

The annual Take Back the Night March and Community Rally will be held Thursday, April 12. Those interested in participating should assemble at Perry Square in downtown Erie at 7 p.m. The event will last until approximately 8:30pm.

The more than 250 marchers expected to participate will hear speakers at various stops during the event, which will conclude inside Gannon University’s Yehl Room where survivors and others are invited to speak out and break the silence by sharing their stories. Gannon has been hosting Take Back the Night or over 15 years; it is the earliest world-wide protest against sexual violent and violence against women (Take Back the Night Foundation).

The event is free, open to the public and is sponsored by Gannon University’s Center for Social Concerns, S.A.V.E.: Students Against Violence Everywhere, Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Erie-Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability (Erie-GAINS) initiative in collaboration with the City of Erie, the Crime Victim Center of Erie County, SafeNet, and the Office of the District Attorney of Erie County, Gannon University’s Student Government Association, LIFE, Activities Programming Board, Athletic Council, and Social Work Club.

When asked about the event, a representative of S.A.V.E., Meagan Hyslop commented the following:

“This is important for Gannon students, faculty, as well as the Erie community because every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted (RAINN). Also 1 in 3 women worldwide experience some form of sexual violence or intimate partner violence, 1 in 6 men experience sexual violence, and sadly less than 50% of victims report these crimes (Take Back the Night Foundation).

Take Back the Night includes on average 250-300 people comprising of Gannon faculty and staff, members of the Erie community, as well as our community partners. Take Back the Night is a big event for Gannon and the community and all are encouraged to attend and to share survivor stories, show support, and to stand up to end sexual violence, domestic violence, and sexual abuse.”

For more information, contact the Gannon Center for Social Concerns at 814-871-5602.