They marched through the campus in a group of hundreds carrying signs and chanting. Their final destination: a place without rape and abuse.
The campus came together last night for Take Back the Night, an event sponsored by the Women's Coordinating Council to raise awareness about domestic violence.
"Every woman has the right to not live in fear," "No woman ever 'asks for it'" and "Homeland security should include funding for sexual assault crisis centers," read some of the signs carried from the Torchbearer to the University Center.
"Sexual violence is an epidemic," Stacy Chaffin, co-coordinator of the event, said. "When we are harassed we are expected to take it as a compliment, and when we are raped we're expected to get over it. Too often the victim is interrogated instead of the perpetrator.
"Last year I stood before you as a victim. This year I stand before you as a survivor. Let's end the silence and take back the night."
Several speakers shared their thoughts on the problem of rape and abuse and shared their personal experiences or read poems aloud.
"One misconception people have is that only men are rapists," speaker Alli Blevins said. "This is because our society believes women are not strong enough to ever take a man. We need to remember the men who have been raped."
Nick Wells, president of the Lambda Student Union, reminded attendees of an often forgotten part of Take Back the Night.
"Not only is Take Back the Night for victims of sexual abuse, it is for victims of verbal abuse," Wells said. "I spoke out last year because I was a victim of verbal abuse."
Carie Thompson, a student from Pellissippi State Technical Community College who attended the event, told about her life as a child-abuse victim during the march.
"I'm a survivor of child abuse, and I'm here to support other survivors," Thompson said. "Anyone who thinks they don't know a person who has been abused should come to events like these. You might even know someone who has and just hasn't told you."