Taking a stand against violence and fear in our community, a "Take Back The Night" event will be held at Trinity Church and Barker Hall during the May 4, 2012 Uptown Art Walk 5:00-8:00 p.m. "Take Back the Night" is an international movement to speak out and raise awareness against sexual violence and provide support to survivors.
The Michigan City event will include an opportunity for prayer and reflection, candle lighting, speakers, an interactive self-defense training class, musical performance, and the painting of a 16-foot long mural. Trinity Church is located at the corner of 6th and Franklin Streets.
The first "Take Back the Night" took place in the United States in the 1970s, and, since then, people in cities worldwide continue to host marches, rallies, and performances. Event organizer Jan Rubsam says, "We want to raise awareness, empower and support survivors of sexual violence, and assert that it is wrong for people to live in fear."
According to police statistics available on the internet, over 400 violent crimes are committed in Michigan City each year including 40-50 rapes. Eighty-four registered sex offenders live in Michigan City - one for every 400 citizens. More than 60% of rapes are never reported to law enforcement, according to the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The American Medical Association reports that the United States has the world's highest rape rate of all countries that publish such data - 13 times higher than England and more than 20 times higher than Japan. The issue affects not only women. The AMA reports that 1 in 10 men is raped in his lifetime, and 1 in 7 of those victims will have been assaulted before the age of 18.
"Individuals should be empowered and be able to defend themselves," says Rubsam. During the "Take Back The Night" event, the Valpo ATA Black Belt Academy will hold a self-defense training class in Barker Hall led by Rubsam. Valpo ATA Black Belt Academy offers a curriculum designed to teach respect, discipline, integrity, self-control, confidence and self-esteem. Rubsam is a 4th Degree Black Belt and has studied Taekwondo since 1998. She is a certified instructor, has been Indiana State Champion seven times, and has been ranked third in the world in sparring twice.
The event's featured speaker will be Gerry Hollingsworth Jones, Executive Director of Stepping Stone Shelter and The Bridge, safe havens for victims of domestic violence in Michigan City. For the past 25 years Ms. Jones has worked to raise the "Violence IQ" of our leaders, clergy, and legal authorities. She has helped more than 6,000 women and children through her leadership, commitment and dedication.
Franklin Street will be the site of the "Take Back Michigan City Mural," coordinated by local artists Matthew Kubik and Sunny Gardner-Orbovich. "The early closing of our parks due to recent violence is not acceptable," says mural designer Matt Kubik. "The "Take Back the Night" event is a way for the people of Michigan City to speak out. Everyone is invited to pick up a paint brush during the event to show their support for the end of violence in Michigan City." The mural will depict local landmarks, parks and beaches combined with the national Take Back the Night graphic logo. The mural painting will be on Franklin Street between 6th and 7th streets at the Trinity Church courtyard.
Matthew Kubik is an internationally trained artist, architect, educator and author. He studied art and architecture at the University of Notre Dame and did post-graduate study at the Royal College of Art, London, England. Sunny Gardner-Orbivich is an artist, musician and educator. She graduated from Wichita State University in painting with honors. She is an experienced muralist and art teacher for the Michigan City Area School Corporation where she teaches kindergarten through fifth grade.
The doors to Trinity Church, 600 Franklin Street, will be open throughout the evening for candle lighting, silent contemplation and prayer. The Trinity Community Children's Choir will sing on the steps of the church. Trinity Church is an inclusive, Anglo-Catholic parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana. The church is a regional center of traditional Episcopal worship, drawing members from a five-county area of Indiana and Michigan.