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VLS to Mark Sexual Assault Prevention Month

April 8, 2010

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- In conjunction with other events in April to mark Sexual Assault Prevention Month, Vermont Law School's Women's Law Group and the Law Students for Reproductive Justice will host "Take Back the Night" from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wed., April 14.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will start in the Yates Common Room in Debevoise Hall with a presentation by Tracy Penfield of SafeArt in Chelsea, who will offer words of healing and advocacy. Participants will then make a candlelit march to the South Royalton village green for a healing fire ceremony. In many cultures, a fire ceremony purifies the body, mind and soul and provides a place for prayer and comforting warmth. Participants will be invited to write down their reflections on surviving and combating sexual violence and to toss the paper into the fire as part of the healing process.

"Our goals are to raise awareness, to empower survivors to share their stories and to bring the VLS and greater South Royalton communities together for a common cause," VLS student Jessica Wilkerson said.

The event is part of "Survivor Flag" week during which people will be encouraged to plant a flag to signify their experience as survivors of sexual violence or to recognize the experience of a friend or loved one. The flags are meant to demonstrate the prevalence and impact of sexual violence. An estimated 20 percent to 25 percent of college women in the United States are sexually assaulted during their college years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 90 percent of campus rapes are alcohol related, according to the National Commission on Substance Abuse at Colleges and Universities.

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations

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