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"We won't have it!"

The Syracuse University campus comes together to protest against sexual violence.

A sea of students and faculty stood by the steps of Hendricks Chapel to denounce sexual violence. 

On April 15, 2009,  more than 700 protestors joined together at Syracuse University's annual "Take Back the Night" event to discuss society's tolerance of sexual violence and abuse. 

The group of protestors was led by Amit Taneja, associate director of the LGBT Resource Center.  Taneja pointed to the recent example of domestic violence involving singers Chris Brown and his girlfriend Rihanna to show how differently society treats women and men.  He cited an online blog that asked whether users thought Brown was responsible for the violence inflicted upon Rihanna.  Taneja said 20 percent of users chose the option: who cares? 

"How have we gotten to a society that says that 'who cares' is a viable option when we talk about violence?" Taneja said.

Taneja is one of many men on the SU campus who openly speak out about ending sexual violence.  A Men's Issue (AMI) is an all-male student group that discusses societal attitudes that lead to violence.  Amani Herron, a member of AMI, says Take Back the Night is a way for campuses across the country to really unite.

   "When we come together we can take a stand against violence of all's something we're committed to changing and we can do it if we work together," Herron said.

AMI seeks to challenge the notion that sexual violence is a women's issue.  Kate Friedman, co-Greek chair of Take Back the Night, said there is another misconception that needs to be addressed: the belief that sexual violence happens among strangers.

"It's really around friends or at parties where you might know people," Friedman said. "It's not when you're just walking alone by yourself but maybe when alcohol is involved."

Janet Epstein, Assistant Director of the R.A.P.E. Center, said Take Back the Night received its name from the idea that women could, on that night, reclaim the streets and walk safely without being subject to any kind of violence. 

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