UW-Madison students plan a Take Back the Night run to raise awareness about campus sexual assault

The 5k is April 19th at 8pm

A group of eight UW-Madison students decided it was time to bring Take Back the Night back to the Madison campus after a string of sexual assaults occurred on campus this year.

We sat down with Co-Chair women Bri Bulski, to learn more about the event and the team’s hopes for creating a conversation around sexual assault.

Why did you decide to take on this project?

“I was personally catalyzed into this project after our campus made national news for a high profile sexual assault case. Myself and many of the women around me had a really hard time focusing in the weeks around it, and we decided we’re tired of talking, so what can we do next. How do we make a concrete difference instead of just being afraid. So, we started looking into opportunities and came across Take Back The Night. I was immediately drawn to TBTN because their mission statement spreads the responsibility across all of us. It’s not just teaching us how not to get raped, but how to recognize consent and not rape.

What do you hope to achieve with this run?

I want to call attention to the fact that women on the UW-Madison campus are at a higher risk for being sexually assaulted than the national average. One in four women on this campus have reported being sexually assaulted. Something has to change, and it starts with us.

What do people need to know about Take Back the Night?

It’s on us. Take Back the Night uses this money to provide educational programming on sexual assault to communities throughout the world. TBTN exists in over 30 countries. So, I guess what I really would like students to take away from the organization itself is their underlying message that we are are all responsible for dismantling rape culture.

What will take place on the day of the run?

The speakers- Representative Taylor, Eileen Zeiger from the Dane County Rape Crisis Center, and my Co-Chair Karli Fink- will speak at City Hall, and then we will make our way down to Law Park all together. From there it’s a 5k run or a 2 mile walk along the Monona bike path, ending again at Law Park!

For those who can’t participate how else can we create a safe campus climate?

Promise yourself that you’re going to do the sometimes uncomfortable, but morally right things. Tell that guy at the party that he needs to stop bothering the girl who is too drunk to make sound decisions. Talk about consent in your social groups. When you hear people objectifying women, call it out.

What does the run symbolize to you?

To me this feels like a reclamation- a reclamation of the night, of the fear that we are taught to feel as women, and of the autonomy and power we have over our bodies. On our board of seven, six of us our women and three of us have been sexually assaulted, and that’s why we’re running. To show that we aren’t going to be passive about this. I think we’re all just done feeling scared. My Co-Chair, Karli, wrote a beautifully honest letter about what the run symbolizes to her.

How can people sign up?

We have two forms of registration- the first is a google form and that method is for people that are paying with cash at the venue or prefer to Venmo our TBTN Madison account. We also have an Eventbrite page for people who would prefer to register using a credit card, or people who would like to donate to the cause.

 

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