Dozens of people met Tuesday to “take back the night.”
Students gathered at Jefferson College of Health Sciences in downtown Roanoke to raise awareness on rape, sexual assault and violence against women.
“Take Back the Night” is an international movement that has been hosted by a number of colleges and universities across the country, including Jefferson College.
Community businesses and organizations donated hundreds of items such shirts, pants and toiletries for the event. Participants then spent the night packing the items into boxes.
Organizers said the boxes, which are a part of the “Fear2Freedom” program, will be given to local rape victims after they get admitted into the hospital for an exam.
They said the boxes are crucial to giving victims a sense of hope.
"It allows us to visually show survivors that we do care about the issue,” said Sarah Higginbotham, who is one of the organizers of the annual event.
“Some survivors we know are in the crowd, but there's obviously many we don't know, and this allows us to come together with many of the professionals and show our collaboration and how well we work together to provide services for them."
Organizers said the group would put together more than 100 boxes for the hospital.
Participants also heard from a number of assault and rape survivors on Tuesday night. They ended the night with a candlelight walk to honor victims of sexual violence and to raise awareness on the issue.