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Take Back the Night

Participants march down North Center Street on April 26, 2018, in downtown Bloomington during the YWCA McLean County Stepping Stones' Take Back the Night demonstration against sexual violence. Both women and men joined for an evening of making signs and listening to testimonials from survivors of sexual violence. This year's Take Back the Night march has been set for 6 p.m. April 25 beginning at the McLean County Museum of History.

BLOOMINGTON — Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted and every nine minutes, that victim is a child, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

But only five of every 1,000 perpetrators end up in prison, RAINN said. To raise awareness about sexual violence and how to prevent it, April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

YWCA McLean County Stepping Stones, McLean County's rape crisis center, will begin Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities on Tuesday by asking community members to wear teal to bring attention to the issue.

This year's campaign theme, "I Ask," encourages the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal and necessary part of life. More information is available at www.ywcamclean.org/saam.

During the fiscal year that ended June 30, Stepping Stones served 268 sexual assault survivors and their loved ones, providing 2,619 hours of assistance, and answering 237 hotline calls.

  • Songs for the Strong, 5 p.m. Friday at The Bistro, 316 N. Main St., Bloomington. Donations will be accepted at the door for an evening of music, food, drink and a raffle.
  • Clothesline Project, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Uptown Circle, Normal. Shirts are decorated by local sexual assault survivors and displayed at the free event.
  • Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, 11 a.m. April 13 at Uptown Circle, Normal. Men are encouraged to walk in women's high-heel shoes to increase appreciation for women's experiences. Register for the free event at www.ywcamclean.org/walkamile2019.
  • Take Back the Night, 6 p.m. April 25 at the McLean County Museum of History, 200 N. Main St., Bloomington. Speakers, followed by a march in downtown Bloomington and a candlelight vigil. 
  • Teal Chairs. Throughout the month, YWCA McLean will display teal chairs on the Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan university campuses to remind sexual assault survivors that they don't need to go through the aftermath of assault alone.

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Contact Paul Swiech at (309) 820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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