UW-Platteville Takes Back The Night


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

UW-Platteville hosted the Take Back the Night Event on April 18 in the Markee Pioneer Student Center. Paula Schoenberg, the campus Sexual Violence Victim Advocate and Outreach Service Director for Family Advocates, spoke at the event.

Family Advocates is an organization dedicated to the eradication of abuse. They provide prevention and intervention services to survivors of sexual, domestic, child and elder abuse in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties.

Schoenberg spoke about the history of Family Advocates and how the organization originated at UW-Platteville, where members of the community would take families in. Now, Family Advocates has their own shelter and is in the process of constructing another which will hopefully be finished by May of next year.

Family Advocates helps survivors of abuse get jobs, provides them with a stable living environment and gives them an opportunity to receive an education, all of which could be extremely difficult without support.

At the end of the talk, members of the event marched along the West Lawn from the Markee Pioneer Student Center to Ottensman Hall to read survival stories that had been submitted by community members.

Annabelle Steffen, the Coordinator for the Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality at UW- Platteville, spoke about how Take Back the Night is “a program for sexual violence prevention and awareness, as well as domestic violence as often those things go hand in hand.”

Steffen also mentioned how she believes it is important for UW-Platteville students to be aware of sexual and domestic violence as most sexual and domestic violence survivors are between 18 and 25 years old. 

“It’s always an issue, it’s always a topic,” Steffen continued. “It’s important to bring awareness to it because it’s often a forgotten thing.”

On-campus resources for survivors include Family Advocates, Counseling Services, the Dean of Students Office, the Doyle Center and Pioneers Educating and Empowering Responsible Students (PEERS).

One UW-Platteville student shared how great these resources can be to students in need. “The Dean of Students office has been incredibly helpful to me while I have been dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault. They guided me through the entire process of filing a complaint and completely supported me in whatever decision I made,” the student said.

PEERS hosted Take Back the Night in collaboration with the Doyle Center and the Dean of Students Office. The organizations also were the coordinators of the “What Were You Wearing: Survivor Art Installation,” an Art Exhibit in the Markee Pioneer Student Center that provided a “tangible response to one of our culture’s most pervasive rape myths.”

The outfits featured in the display had been recreated from the stories of university student survivors of sexual assault.

Steffen encouraged UW-Platteville students to believe survivors and support one another and explained how an understanding community can decrease the risks of sexual and domestic violence. She also urged students to use the resources available to them on campus. “We can’t always change what has happened, but we can make sure that no student has to face it alone,” Steffen said.