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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Take Back The Night event to raise sexual violence awareness

After Joanna Galaris caught the eye of a UF law student at Karma Cream, he began to talk to her.

He offered to walk her home, and later, he asked her to have sex.

When she turned him down, he was outraged.

“He seemed to think that asking me to have sex with him was an acceptable thing,” the 21-year-old UF anthropology senior said. “I feel that a lot of college-age men are confused as to what permission is.”

Galaris is one of about 200 people expected to attend Gainesville’s Take Back The Night tonight to raise awareness about sexual violence. Take Back The Night is a nationwide event that often features marches, rallies and personal testimonies.

Tonight’s event will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Turlington Plaza, but the march will start at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., survivors and supporters will have the chance to share stories and support on the Reitz Union Colonnade. Event organizer Ashley Cortez, a victim advocate counselor at the Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center, said the event is larger than awareness.

“People are beginning to come to the realization that rape is not as black and white as what people previously thought,” the 27-year-old said. “Sexual assault doesn’t always happen by a stranger. It’s more than likely going to be someone you know and trust.”

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