SOS and Emporia State University partner to present Take Back the Night

SOS is partnering with Emporia State University to present Jana’s Campaign for Take Back the...
SOS is partnering with Emporia State University to present Jana’s Campaign for Take Back the Night, a campaign that calls attention to domestic violence awareness.(SOS)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:38 AM CDT
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EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) - SOS is partnering with Emporia State University to present Jana’s Campaign for Take Back the Night.

SOS announced they are partnering with ESU’s THRIVE (The Healthy Relationship and Interpersonal Violence Education program) and Counseling Services from ESU’s Wellness Center to welcome Curt and Christie Brungardt from Jana’s Campaign for Take Back the Night, hosted from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 6 at Albert Taylor Hall on the Emporia State University campus. This is a free event and is open to the public.

The Brungardts plan to speak about their story and advocacy, gender/LGTQIA+ and relationship violence prevention, responses to sexual violence and stalking, healthy relationships, and more.

Following Jana’s Campaign, Emporia State University alum Emily Steimel-Handy will speak about the impact that the trauma of sexual assault has, what people can do to prevent sexual assault and support survivors, and connect her experience to the passion for the work she does.

Throughout the event, SOS, THRIVE, and ESU’s Counseling Services hope to make an enormous impact, speaking about a passion for advocacy among students and the community. After the speakers, SOS and THRIVE will lead a march around campus, which has been a tradition at ESU’s Take Back the Night. Following the march, the victims will speak out with an open dialogue format for healing and advocacy.

Jana’s Campaign was created by the Brungardts after their daughter, Jana, was murdered in an act of domestic violence back in 2008. Since then, the Brungardts have devoted their lives to educating and bringing awareness to domestic violence. They want it to be known that this can happen to anybody. Jana was a University of Kansas student and was 25 years old when she passed away. She was an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Jana’s Campaign works with colleges and universities to provide training opportunities and resources to improve prevention and response efforts to sexual violence, partner violence, and stalking on campus.

SOS said the first Take Back the Night was held in England in 1977, and the U.S. joined the movement in 1978 in San Francisco. These marches began as a protest against the violence individuals are subjected to on a nightly basis and have evolved into a night of sharing, healing, empowerment, and education.

Take Back the Night is also part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which calls attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in the community. Sexual Assault Awareness Month aims to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities about how to prevent it.

The CDC reports that over half of women and almost 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence during their lifetimes. According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, in 2021, there were 1,197 incidents of rape reported in Kansas, averaging one rape reported every 7 hours, 19 minutes, and 6 seconds. This crime often goes unreported for many reasons. Often victims are scared that no one will believe them, or they might be harassed and blamed for their assault if they come forward.

SOS said it is important that communities do not stay silent and turn their backs on victims. Take Back the Night events were created to promote a world without fear of sexual violence.

SOS, THRIVE, and ESU Counseling Services encourage the community to join the event for a night of shared stories, education, and an opportunity to learn more about resources available for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as opportunities for individuals to become advocates for survivors in their own communities if they so choose. SOS staff will be available to answer any questions at the event.

SOS said if someone mentions they were raped or assaulted, please believe them. Acknowledge the experience has affected their life and offer support. Phrases like “I believe you,” “I’m sorry this happened to you,” “it’s not your fault,” and “what can I do to help” can let them know that they are not alone.

SOS can offer free and confidential support for victims of sexual assault. SOS recommends getting medical attention following an assault. SOS advocates can guide an individual through the court process. The SOS team can also offer resources for counseling, crime victims’ compensation, and aid with legal services. Call the SOS 24/7 helpline at 800-825-1295, text SOSKS to 847411, or get more information on SOS’s website: