UVA Students Stand Against Sexual Assault with "Take Back the Night"

Posted: Updated: April 12, 2013 09:30 AM EDT

University of Virginia students took a stand Thursday night against what they call a "silent epidemic."

All this week, they were working to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence.

"We do have problems with domestic violence and sexual assault right here in our home," said organizer Staige Davis.

The community rallied at Lambeth Field, raising awareness about sexual assault and offering support to survivors.

"The issue of sexual assault is one that people don't like to talk about, but covering it up or pretending it doesn't happen is a disservice to the survivors and the only person who benefits from that is a perpetrator. It's easy to want to ignore it," Davis said.

From there, the students marched passed the president's residence at Carr's Hill and the Rotunda, ending at the amphitheater. It was there that the mood changed. The somber setting offered a place for survivors to share their stories.

"It's a really emotional experience but at the same time it's a good way to bond our university as a whole and really come together as a community against this issue," said UVA student Leah Starns.

The Take Back the Night rally, march and vigil were the final pieces of a whole week of events.

"I think we've really built a lot of awareness and in our community this week," said organizer Alison Celello.

Organizers say, statistically, one in four women in college have been or will be sexually assaulted. That rate is higher than that for the general public. That's why they say events like the rally, march and vigil are so important.