Safe Passage stands by survivors in upcoming events


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Safe Passage has two upcoming events this month to uplift survivors and to fundraise for their own organization. | (Getty Images)

DeKALB – Across the country, sexual assault and domestic abuse is an all-too-common occurrence that must be actively fought against.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge survivors, hear their stories and prevent future assaults.

Safe Passage, a DeKalb County domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center, will be raising awareness this month to reduce the stigma around sexual assault, said Nia Norris, director of prevention and communication at Safe Passage.

Two upcoming events to break this stigma are Walk-A-Mile in Their Shoes and Take Back the Night.

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month raises the issues that happen to survivors,” Norris said. “We talk about the stigma of sexual assault, the fear of reporting.”

Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night is a historic march for survivors to reclaim the night which has been considered an uncomfortable or unsafe time when sexual assaults happen.

Starting at the Egyptian Theatre, participants will march through downtown DeKalb returning to the theater to hear from a collection of speakers. Speakers will include representatives of Safe Passage and sexual assault survivors.

The event is from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 17 at the Egyptian Theatre.

“It’s a very powerful experience, very emotional,” Norris said.

The speaking portion of the event is considered an open forum and those in the community who feel comfortable may share their own experiences with sexual assault. During speaker presentations, audience members are asked not to record to ensure the privacy of those speaking out.

Take Back the Night is a free event in partnership with the Egyptian Theatre.

“It’s incredibly impactful to hear directly from these survivors and champions within the community,” said Alex Nerad, executive director of the Egyptian Theatre.

Walk-A-Mile in Their Shoes

Walk-A-Mile in Their Shoes is a fundraiser for Safe Passage in which participants will march to raise money for Safe Passage services. The national organization is called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” but was recently changed by Safe Passage for their events to acknowledge the broad spectrum of sexual assault on the gender binary.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to Safe Passage so they can provide services for free to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. These services include counseling, legal and medical advocacy, case management, shelter and prevention services.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. and the march will begin at 10:30 a.m. on April 22 at the NIU Convocation Center.

Those registering can do so as individuals or as a group of five or more. Registration fees are $25 per person or $20 per person in a group. NIU student registration fees are $15 per person or $10 per person registering for a group. The fee for those registering day of is $30. Those registering or wanting to donate can do so on the Safe Passage website under their events page.

For more information on Safe Passage, upcoming events and sexual assault awareness, visit the Safe Passage website.