Shatter the silence. End the violence.
On Thursday evening, the Women's Coordinating Council hosted Take Back the Night, an annual event to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence.
The event's guest speaker, Katie Hnida, spoke to a filled UC Ballroom about her own experience with sexual assault.
Formerly a female football player for the University of Colorado, Hnida dealt with bullying, physical and sexual assault from other team members.
Hnida later transferred to the University of New Mexico where she found a team that supported and defended her as a woman.
"This is why I am here today and able to speak about it," Hnida said.
Following Hnida's account, microphones at the front of the room were opened to any attendee who wished to share their own experiences with domestic violence. Unless spoken into the media designated microphone, all messages were explicitly confidential.
Take Back the Night concluded with a candlelight vigil memorializing victims of assault, abuse and violence. An intimate circle formed outside of the UC for a moment of silence before attendees departed.
Brittany Wood, vice-chair of the WCC was pleased with the event's success.
"Every year Take Back the Night is one of our larger events, and its one that kind of speaks for itself," Wood said. "We don't have to do as much publicity because everyone knows the history of the event, and the culture behind it and everyone is very supportive, and I think this year is no different."
In Wood's opinion, the event provided avenues of discussion about personal subjects.
"The main goal of the night is to get those people who have been afraid up until this point to speak about their past experiences," Wood said. "And also to encourage others who know about people who have been affected or who have been affected themselves to just know that there are others who support you and there are others who have been through what you have."
Stephanie Powers, a co-coordinator for TBTN and an English literature and philosophy major, said she was particularly struck by the strength of attendees who chose to detail their experiences.
"I was really impressed with the number of people that came out," Powers said. "Katie was awesome and I think people really enjoyed the speaker. I was really in awe of how many people who got up and shared their stories and it was really encouraging to see how many survivors there are out there."
Powers also said she feels the event is a valuable way to reach out to her fellow students in need.
"This night means a lot to me personally, I think it's one of the most important events that happens on campus," she said. "When I went my sophomore year it completely changed my life, so I think that just the idea that I could do that for one more person. That this event could do that for one more person, it's just incredible to me."