Local News

Take Back the Night rally aims to raise awareness

Posted October 28, 2008 11:07 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2008 11:32 p.m. EDT

— The most common violent crime on college campuses is rape. To raise awareness of the crime, hundreds of people gathered in the cold Tuesday evening for North Carolina State University's 21st annual "Take Back the Night" rally.

According to N.C. State Women's Center, one in four women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape before they graduate college.

For some people attending the rally – held behind Talley Student Center – the staggering statistic has personal meaning.

"It started out wonderfully,” abuse survivor Kelly Cosper said.

Cosper says her relationship with a college boyfriend did not stay that way. He became emotionally and physically abusive, she says.

"That quickly turned to sexual abuse,” Cosper said.

Earlier this month – in a separate case – Roderic Anthony Smith, 32, was charged with rape after police say he assaulted an 18-year old woman walking along Hillsborough Street.

N.C. State's Women's Center estimates more than 40-percent of rape victims tell no one what happened to them. That is what Kiesha Webb wants to change.

Webb says she was abused at the age of six.

"They were powerless in that situation, and that now they have the power to do something about it,” Webb said she wants abuse victims to realize.

Cosper is also doing something about it. For the first time, she shared her story with strangers and accepted that what happened to her was not her fault.

"I have never felt more at peace with myself than I do right now,” she said.

The lesson on campus from the rally: If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, get help now.