Each April, a coordinated planning effort takes place to bring Sexual Assault Awareness Month events to the CSRA. Sponsored by Augusta University, Paine College, and Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services, Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness about sexual violence, to support victims and survivors, and to focus on strategies for building safer communities.
Take Back the Night began as an Augusta State University student's art project in 1996 and has grown into a month's worth of events that raise awareness of and call for an end to the sexual assault and abuse of women, children, and men. The TBTN Rally and related events are held in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the TBTN Rally takes place on the front lawn of the Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre on Augusta University's campus.
The Women's Studies Program has long held an integral role in TBTN, with faculty chairing the planning committee, speaking at events, and the Women's Studies Student Association leading the silent march the night of the rally as well as getting involved in many of the events that occur throughout the month. Events are held at both Augusta University and Paine College and include a TBTN Kick-Off, film screenings and discussions, t-shirt making for the Clothesline Project, guest speakers, and fundraisers for Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services of Augusta.
The first Take Back the Day Walk was held in 2010 as a spin-off from Augusta's annual Take Back the Night Rally. The term "Take Back the Night" originated in 1976 in Belgium when a march for women was held to "reclaim the night they were raped." RCSAS is glad to extend the TBTN Rally with the TBTD 5k Run/Walk, to continue to spread awareness of sexual violence in our community and reclaim women's, men's, and children's rights to move freely, day and night, without sexual violence.
These events serve to remind people that sexual assault and abuse occur on a daily basis and of the impact these crimes have on survivors, their loved ones, and the community as a whole. They culminate in the TBTN Rally, a two hour event that involves information tables set up by community agencies that work with sexual assault survivors and guest speakers from law enforcement and/or the legal system, Augusta University, and Rape Crisis. The most moving and empowering part of the program are the stories of healing shared by survivors of sexual assault, after which the program ends with a silent candlelight march around Augusta University's campus.
Augusta University Women's Studies is proud to support the important work of Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services of Augusta (RCSAS) during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and throughout the year. RCSAS is a nonprofit community-based program established in 1975 as a grassroots response to the needs of victims of rape and sexual assault in Augusta, Georgia. For 39 years, RCSAS has served the counties of the greater Augusta region, providing help at no cost for survivors of child abuse and sexual assault and their families regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred or whether is was reported.