Take Back the Night

April 17, 1998

Take Back the Night Rally Set for April 23

by Ellie Walradth
UW-RF News Bureau

Nationally recognized date-rape survivor and sexual assault prevention educator Katie Koestner will deliver the keynote speech for Take Back the Night observances set for April 23 in River Falls.

Activities will begin at 5 p.m. that Thursday on the UW-River Falls mall between Hagestad Student Center and South Hall. There will be free refreshments, a performance by UW-RF Dance Theatre, kids activities, an open microphone and several exhibits.

Take Back the Night is an international rally and march organized to call attention to violence against women, children and families. The first rallies began in England, with the first rally and march held in the United States in San Francisco in 1978.

Koestner will speak at 6 p.m. Koestner went public with her date-rape story in 1990 after being outraged at the inadequate response from her university to her victimization. She took her story to the media and has made appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Geraldo, NBC Nightly News, CNBC Talk Live, The Jane Witney Show, Morton Downey Jr., Larry King Live, Entertainment Tonight, Italian TV, and 35 other programs.

Koestner's story has also been told in a lifestories docudrama by HBO titled "No Visible Bruises: the Katie Koestner Story." This video will be shown April 22 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the International Room of the Student Center.

In addition Koestner has been featured in numerous publications including Time magazine, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Tribune and the Journal of Higher Education. An appearance and press conference with U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad helped encourage Congress, and later President Bush, to pass the 1992 Victim's Bill of Rights.

In addition to the keynote speech, Koestner will present a workshop titled "What to do if Someone is Raped" on April 23 at 2:30 p.m. in the Blue Room of Rodli Commons.

Special exhibits will be on display throughout the evening. The Clothesline Project, sponsored by the Minnesota Women's Coalition, will feature a collection of 200 t-shirts designed by survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

The Minnesota Women's Consortium will feature the Silent Witness Project, which is a 27-figure display of life-size wood cut outs. The figures are painted red to represent women who have lost their lives to domestic violence. Each has a plaque identifying and describing who it represents.

Women's advocate Leah Hebert will speak to participants at 7:45 p.m., followed by the march through town at 8 p.m. UW-RF alumni Diane Wegner and the Benejesurits will entertain after the march. Wegner has played at the Java Coast, the Mall of America and numerous other establishments.

For more information, contact Lisha McLean at 715/425-3530 or 715/425-5789.

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