Take Back the Night 2015: ‘Shattering the Silence’

Cadet squadrons, athletic teams and other units here designed T-shirts campaigning against sexual violence, including slogans such as
Cadet squadrons, athletic teams and other units here designed T-shirts campaigning against sexual violence, including slogans such as “Hurts one, affects all,” “Stand up, speak out” and “H.O.P.E.– Hold on, pain ends” during the Academy’s second annual Take Back the Night event April 16, 2015 at the Cadet Field House and Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Force photo/Liz Copan)

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Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James provided opening remarks.
Nearly 400 red glow sticks glisten to represent the number of sexual assault victims here in the last 10 years, at the Academy's second annual Take Back the Night event April 16. Cadets heard messages from Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Katie Koestner, the first survivor of date rape to speak out nationally. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Liz Copan)
Nearly 400 red glow sticks glisten to represent the number of sexual assault victims here in the last 10 years, at the Academy’s second annual Take Back the Night event April 16. Cadets heard messages from Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Katie Koestner, the first survivor of date rape to speak out nationally. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Liz Copan)

“I’m personally honored to speak and share my story with cadets because there is no more personal way to go about motivation than to say, ‘This can affect real lives and real human beings in ways that don’t heal themselves quickly or easily,” Koestner said in an interview before the event.

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Katie Koestner, executive director of the Take Back the Night Foundation, recounted details of being sexually assaulted at 18, encouraging cadets to know their part in ending sexual violence.

All are affected by sexual assault regardless of race, religion, social background or gender, Koestner said.

“It’s important to paint an inclusive picture about the problem,” she said. No one should ever threaten your right to feel comfortable here. There is no alternative Air Force Academy to go to. It’s even more important you all hold each other to the highest standards of respect because respect is so critical to helping us solve this problem.”

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