T hirty-three years ago, women began to stand up and speak out about violence of all forms committed against them. One such form, domestic violence, is the physical or sexual assault and abusive actions perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. Today, both men and women are still affected by domestic violence. In fact, one in four women has experienced or will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Such actions lead to physical pain, psychological trauma, and unfortunately even death.

Getting involved, simply by raising awareness, can shatter the silence of domestic violence on our campus. For someone who has been victimized, even becoming aware of one's identity as a survivor of unnecessary violence is a huge step toward seeking relief and ending the vicious cycle. It's important to note that anyone can be a victim and there's no particular face, race, gender, economic or social status, sexual orientation, religion, creed or any other defining characteristic that attracts violence. One can be a strong, independent, intelligent woman and still be harmed by domestic abuse, sexual assault, verbal harassment, etc. Seeking out the resources that can help one heal from traumatizing experiences doesn't make one "weak," but rather, strong for recognizing everyone needs community and support during times of trouble. On the University of Colorado's Boulder campus alone, there are centers such as Victims Assistance, CAPS, and CU Helpline that can lend support to those that need it.

Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. has a national philanthropy mission that is to combat violence against women. Phi Chapter hosts several informational events throughout the year. "Take Back the Night" is their largest event that promotes awareness of violence against women as a prevalent issue that needs to be addressed, especially on a college campus where abusive incidents occur frequently. The first documented Take Back The Night event in the United States took place in 1975 during the month of October in Philadelphia and continues through organizations such as Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. The purpose of this event is for survivors of sexual violence to reclaim their power and voice after a night of trauma was inflicted on them. Take Back The Night has returned its focus to eliminating violence in all forms, particularly sexual crimes committed against females, throughout universities such as CU-Boulder.

Last year, Sigma Psi Zeta hosted a philanthropy week that kicked off with the "Clothesline Project." Students wrote encouraging messages for victims on T-shirts that were then displayed on a clothesline. The sisters of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. would like to invite you to our annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) in honor of our national philanthropy. It will be on Oct. 23 in front of the UMC fountains on the CU-Boulder campus. We will have presentations, speak-outs, a march and rally, and a candlelight vigil in honor of those who have been affected by violence.

Stephanie Wong is a fifth-year senior, at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She has been involved with Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. for the past four years and an ally for domestic violence. Kim Chin is a senior at the CU Boulder. She has been involved with Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. for the two years and volunteered for a year at Safehouse Progressive Alliance for NonViolence.