A special rally will be held tomorrow for Iowa’s 19th annual “Women Take Back the Night” event. It’s dedicated to the victims and survivors of rape. Maria Dunker, a sexual assault counselor for Polk County Victim Services, says the event allows women to do more than just take back the night.She says it gives them back the voice that has been silent for too long.A report compiled by 15 sexual assault intervention programs in Iowa shows that 81-percent of victims knew their rapist. The report also notes that 33-percent of women raped were between the ages of 14 to 25. Dunker says college women fall directly into this category. Vibs Petersen is Drake’s Associate Professor of Women’s Studies. She says she’s fed up with the silence on college campuses. She says the hunting season begins on the first day of classes – and the prey are women. By the same token, Petersen says in this day and age women can not afford to be naive about rape statistics.Petersen says three out of four college women will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate. Dunker says there are a few things college women can do to help prevent violent encounters. She says they should be aware of their surroundings, be accompanied by a friend during the late evenings, and to familiarize themselves with the security phones located throughout campuses. The “Take Back The Night” Rally and March begins at six o’clock Sunday night at Stilwell Junior High School in West Des Moines. Three speakers will share their personal stories. Lt. Governor Sally Pederson will also be there.
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