The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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April 20, 2001 Issue
Guest Viewpoint

Rally lets us help break violence cycle

Annual 'Take Back the Night' rally set April 27

By Susan Moreau Lockwood

An opportunity to increase your awareness and understanding of the effects of violence is being offered at 7 p.m. Friday, April 27, at the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay. The 15th "Take Back the Night" march and rally in Brown County.

"Take Back the Night" promotes education and awareness of the incidences and effects of violence in our community with a specific focus on sexual assault and domestic violence. It also supports people who have survived these horrendous experiences.

The response to this annual event has been extremely positive.

Take Back the Night marches and rallies began in England as a protest against the fear that women encountered walking on the streets at night. The first "Take Back the Night" rally and march held in the United States occurred in San Francisco in 1978. Since then, "Take Back the Night" marches and rallies have spread through the nation, with the focus being not only on the issue of safety on the streets but also in our homes.

The first "Take Back the Night" rally and march was held in Green Bay in 1985. In the early years, the rally concentrated on safety for women, however, the focus has expanded to include male survivors as well as child abuse victims.

A survivor speak-out forum was added in which survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence are given an opportunity to speak publicly and in a safe environment. This has become a positive experience at our rally offering empowerment to those speaking and understanding to those listening.

This year's main speaker will be Victor Rivers, a national spokesperson for the National Network to End Domestic Violence. As a 12-year-old boy, Victor went to the police station and disrobed, showing officers the cuts, bruises, welts and burns on his body. He told how his father was beating him, his mother and four siblings.

There was little the officers could do. In 1967, it was considered a private family matter. By the time Victor was 15, he left home after his father went after him with a knife. Fellow football teammates' families took him in until he found a home with one of them.

Victor graduated from high school as president of his senior class and lettering in four sports. He went on to play football at the University of Florida and was the first Cuban to play for the Miami Dolphins. After a year there he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He has appeared in many films, including The Mask of Zorro, Amistad, Havana and One Good Cop.

Victor's story shows the importance of intervention to help break the cycle of violence. As a spokesperson for the NNEDV he hopes to raise awareness that domestic violence cannot be treated simply as a woman's issue, it should be everyone's issue.

Victor will speak at 7 p.m. April 26 in the Phoenix Room of the Student Union at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and at 7 p.m. April 27 at the Take Back the Night march and rally at the Brown County Courthouse. Music will begin at 6:30 p.m.

(Lockwood is a psychotherapist in the Sexual Assault Center at Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin.)

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