Blacksburg's 20th annual Take Back the Night Rally and March will be held on Thursday, March 26 to bring the community together to reject violence against women and promote awareness of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors which perpetuate this violence.

University community and broader community members are invited to assemble between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Virginia Tech’s Drillfield in front of the War Memorial Chapel. The rally will begin between 7 and 7:30 p.m., at which time participants will march through campus and downtown Blacksburg, and return to the Drillfield for a closing celebration. The route is accessible for persons with disabilities. The rain location for this event is the Wesley Foundation at the corner of Roanoke and Otey Streets in Blacksburg.

The event is part of the university’s Women’s Month 2009 celebration. Each participant is asked to wear a purple ribbon tied with a knot for every friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted. Ribbons will be worn throughout Women’s Month to show support for victims and to protest sexual violence against all people. Purple ribbons will be available at information tables at Take Back the Night and each weekday at the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, located at 206 Washington Street in Blacksburg.

The first Take Back the Night event was held in Germany in 1973 in response to a series of sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. Five years later in the United States, a Take Back the Night march was held in San Francisco; over 5,000 women from 30 states participated. Since then, marches have been held in many cities throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, India, and Europe. In Virginia, Take Back the Night marches have been held in Richmond and Charlottesville, and at Hollins University, Radford University, Roanoke College, and Virginia Tech.

Sponsoring organizations include AdvanceVT, Amnesty International, Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships, Coalition for Justice, Cooper House, Cranwell International Center, Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech, Graduate Student Assembly, Health Advocates, Hillel, League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, LGBTA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance), Men of Respect at Virginia Tech (MoRe VT), Montgomery County NOW, New River Community Action, New River Valley Community Services, Office for Equal Opportunity, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Organization of Women Faculty, Raft Crisis Hotline, Sexual Assault and Violence Education by Students (SAVES), Sexual Violence Prevention Council, Student Programs, VCOM Obstetrics and Gynecology Club, Virginia Tech Campus Ministers Association, Womanspace, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, Women’s Month 2009 Advisory Committee, Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, and YMCA.

For more information, contact Susan Anderson at (540) 231-8041 (work) or (540) 951-2013 (home).