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Take Back the Night to raise violence awareness | News

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Take Back the Night to raise violence awareness

LAS VEGAS - An event at UNLV is bringing attention to a serious, underreported crime. Take Back the Night aims at putting a stop to sexual assault and violence on campus.

The event will educate students, staff and faculty about the resources available to them. Organizers say they want to empower everyone on campus with information to prevent domestic and sexual violence.

Take Back the Night takes place Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., but help is always available.

UNLV has crisis support, medical, and counseling services. For example, the Care Line is a 24-hour campus hotline for victims and survivors.

The Student Health Center provides medical care, including: wellness exams, treatment for minor injuries and pregnancy tests.

UNLV Police are always on campus ready to respond to emergencies.

Take Back the Night organizers say less than half of all domestic and sexual violence crimes are reported to police.

"It's really important for us to go out and talk about these things that, regardless of who the perpetrator is, that it's not okay," said UNLV Women's Center Director Christina Hernandez. “Unfortunately, we continue to live in a society where victims are blamed for what happened to them… When students are raped at a party or after they've consumed a lot of alcohol, there's a lot of that internalized victimization that happens."

For those who want to help victims, UNLV offers an advocate program that trains people how to help someone who is a rape victim or in a violent relationship.

“I was angry, because I know a victim. That means I know a perpetrator. I know an abuser. I know someone who's basically walking around unpunished for the things that they do to others and further oppression of other people. So, I wanted to end that," said CARE advocate Carmella Gadsen.

There are also resources off campus. Organizations around town offer services to battered women.

Safe Faith United President Rebeca Ferreira says education is key. A domestic violence survivor, Ferreira knows first-hand the importance of knowing where to go for help before a relationship turns deadly.

Because victims often don't talk about the abuse they endure at home, Ferreira calls upon people in the community to say something if they see something.

“When you talk about domestic violence awareness, people back up, 'Oh, I don't want to get involved. Oh this, I don't want nothing with these violent people. Oh, I want nothing to do.' So, you see what I mean? It's a cause just like any other cause," she said.

Ferreira says her doors are always open. In addition to helping victims with civil matters and moral support, she gives them a reality check; the hall at Safe Faith United is covered with pictures of battered women who wanted to show what domestic violence looks like.