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The Harvard campus is not immune to the problem of violence against women, organizers of the Harvard chapter of Take Back the Night said yesterday.
About 30 undergraduates met in the Adams House dining hall last night for the first planning meeting of Take Back the Night, an annual, week-long series of lectures and workshops to increase awareness of the issue.
"Violence against women does take place on this campus and this isn't something that we can ignore or sweep under the rug," said Lamelle D. Rawlins '99, president of the Under-graduate Council.
Organizers of the event want the issue to be recognized by the entire campus, according to Adina H. Rosenbaum '98, co-chair of Take Back the Night.
"It's hard to get concrete numbers about violence against women because people often don't report things like date rapes," Rosenbaum said.
In what Rawlins termed a "huge breakthrough," the council last year co-sponsored Take Back the Night for the first time.
The council is working with the Women's Leadership Conference to plan one of the events for Take Back the Night Week this year, a forum dealing with the College's policies on date rate, sexual assault and harassment.
Take Back the Night Week culminates in a rally and march at which victims of violence and other concerned individuals share their experiences.
About 70 people marched through Harvard Yard and Cambridge Common last year, according to Rosenbaum.
Elizabeth A. Haynes '98, a member of the Radcliffe Union of Students, said last night that one of the reasons she is looking forward to attending the rally this year is because campus safety is an important issue that affects all students, particularly women.
"I feel safe until about 10:45 at night. [After that] I'll be walking and I'll look behind my shoulder," Haynes said.
Although Haynes said the University has done much within the last year to increase the number of lights and security phones on campus, more needs to be done.
"Lighting on the route from the Yard to the Quad isn't great in a lot of areas," she said. "There needs to be a blue [security] phone every block."
According to Haynes, the crime rate in an area typically decreases when lighting is added.
"The University should go to the city government to make sure that we're safe," she said.
Take Back the Night Week will last from April 13-17.
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