In recent years, people spread awareness of sexual assault and rape culture. Along with social media movements and marches, students at Missouri Southern’s campus have hosted a Take Back the Night event.

This year, the 14th annual event, set for 7 p.m., Thursday, April 25, will take place in the Mills Anderson Justice Center Auditorium. It is coordinated by members of Alpha Sigma Alpha, in conjunction with officials from Joplin’s Lafayette House. 

Officials from both organizations are arranging for speakers to share their stories of sexual assault or stories of hope. The event also informs survivors about services available at the Lafayette House. 

The Lafayette House, now in its 40th year, offers services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and/or substance use. 

Katy Johnson, development assistant with the Lafayette House, the facility serves helps approximately 1,300 women each year. Services include treatment, counseling and community support. The Pumpkin Patch center provides childcare for children of mothers seeking treatment. 

Johnson said there is a need to get people talking about sexual assault, both on Southern campus and in the community. 

“[Take Back the Night] is an evening where survivors can tell their stories in a safe, confident place,” said Johnson. 

Attending the event, Johnson said may help a survivor in the healing process, as well as assist others in spreading awareness of the services offered for survivors who have not yet sought out help. 

“We are all in this together and working to try to help everybody if they have been sexually assaulted or know somebody of an assault,” Johnson said.

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