Saint Martin's to host “Take Back the Night”

March 30, 2012

TakeBackPhotoLACEY, WASHINGTON — As a call for an end to sexual violence, Saint Martin’s University will host a “Take Back The Night” event Thursday, April 19, 7 p.m., starting at the University's Trautman Union Building. The event will include a keynote address by SafePlace Executive Director Mary Pontarolo and a candlelight march on campus. It will conclude with a gathering of the Saint Martin’s and Lacey communities participating in a peace flag-making activity.

This free event is jointly sponsored by Saint Martin’s University’s Offices of Campus Life, Public Safety, Counseling and Wellness, and Residence Life, and the Department of Women’s Studies. This is the University’s fourth annual “Take Back the Night” march on campus. The public is invited to participate.

Pontarolo has provided direct services and administered programs and agencies in the field of sexual and domestic violence for the past 30 years. She was both founder and executive director of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence for 10 years before transitioning to SafePlace. Prior to 1990 she served as the executive director of New Beginnings’ domestic violence shelter program in Seattle for five years. Pontarolo also served as a community and volunteer educator and provided domestic violence perpetrator treatment groups prior to her director positions. Pontarolo has been instrumental in the development of state-wide policy, curriculum and legislative initiatives protecting the rights and safety of victims of sexual and domestic violence and their children.

The City of Lacey is providing a proclamation, declaring the week of April 16-20 “Sexual Violence Awareness Week” and April 19 “Take Back the Night Day.” The Sexual Violence Awareness week will include the Clotheslines and Silhouette Projects, a documentary and a self-defense workshop.

“Take Back the Night” brings survivors, their supporters and the community together to shatter the silence surrounding sexual violence. For more than 30 years, “Take Back the Night” participants—people of all ages, races, religions, backgrounds and genders—have empowered and supported survivors, raised awareness, helped those in pain, and asserted that no one should have to live in fear of sexual violence.

According to Laurel Dube, assistant director of campus life and event organizer, the Saint Martin’s march is intended to unite energies and illuminate the path toward a violence-free world. “Programs such as Take Back the Night unite the community to promote the message that sexual violence is not tolerated and to advocate for the safety of our community,” says Dube.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Laurel Dube
Assistant director of campus life

Sarah Holdener
Director of community relations and event Management
Office of Marketing and Communications
Saint Martin’s University