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By: Nia Hill

She suddenly stands still, raising her head from the small dimly lit screen–looking into the dark audience-filled room. Her hands relax from clutching her phone, and her shaky voice is now clear as she says, “Dear six-year-old me, it was never your fault.”

On March 28, UAB Wellness Promotion and the College of Arts & Sciences hosted “Take Back the Night,” an annual event that uplifts the survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse while advocating for the end of interpersonal violence. Survivors and supporters graced the stage to share their art depicting their resilience and strength.

The evening began with a march whose chants echoed throughout campus, urging others to join the march in solidarity. “We have the power! We have the might! The streets are ours! Take back the night!” sang through the residence halls from McMahon to Blazer Hall filling campus streets until they reached University Hall.

Participants were greeted with information and tabling on personal safety, Planned Parenthood, sexual health, and more. Many students were moved by the intimate works of art that were displayed by Creatvitiy for a Cause submittors. Others were amazed by the knowledge and content they absorbed at the event. Demetrius Battle, a graduate student on the UAB football team said, “learning those things, we can go back and tell our teammates if we see anything that's wrong and let them know this is wrong and you shouldn't be doing that, and this is what you should be doing.”

UAB Wellness Promotion and College of the Arts and Sciences partnered with the Megan Montgomery Foundation, a memorial foundation that honors late UAB alum Megan Montgomery. Friends and family share her story and hope to end relationship violence before it begins.

UAB senior and Promoter of Wellness team member, Kablis Tishano, spoke on the importance of Take Back the Night, saying, “I’m so thankful that we were able to sort of, like, surround them and empower them too in what they've experienced.” While the Creativity for Cause pieces did evoke a variety of emotions, it created personal connections that helped close the gap between survivors and people who may be new to learning about the cause.

The seminar also included information about relationships and the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Using examples from pop culture and mixed media, the event runners showed students how to identify these signs and how recognizing them could be the difference between life and death.

Follow UAB Wellness Promotion to stay informed, learn how to get involved, and for other event and programming information.