A light in the dark

Matt Hellman | Lariat PhotographerHarbor City, Calif. senior Morghan Medlock shares her story about the loss of her mother to domestic violence during “Take Back the Night” event Wednesday night on Fountain Mall.

Bear sheds light on domestic violence at Take Back the Night

By Sally Ann Moyer

Former Lady Bears basketball forward Morghan Medlock shared her experience with domestic violence Wednesday during Take Back the Night on Fountain Mall.

She spoke during the campus rally to promote domestic violence awareness because an abusive boyfriend killed Medlock’s mother in a murder-suicide in December 2008.

“I tell my story to people just to educate them on how something like that can just happen to everyday people,” Medlock said.

Take Back the Night, part of a national campaign to prevent domestic violence, is held at night for symbolic reasons.

“We’re saying that women should feel safe to go out at night,” Ida Jamshidi, graduate apprentice for multicultural affairs, said.

The planning team, organized by Jamshidi, included representatives from a variety of campus and Waco organizations for the event.

“We came together to not only shine light on this issue but to also stand in solidarity against it,” said Camden McClintock, staff psychologist with Baylor Counseling Services and co-facilitator for a Baylor sexual assault work team.

The Counseling Center, Waco Family Abuse Center, Shin’s Martial Arts and the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children provided informational brochures at the event.

“Part of the problem is that a lot of victims don’t even realize what they’re going through is sexual assault or sexual violence or rape,” McClintock said. “Events like this can help bring awareness and help put a label on it.”

The central purpose of the event was to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence.

“We just think it’s a serious issue that might not necessarily be at the forefront of people’s minds, but it’s something that many college women have dealt with or may deal with,” Jamshidi said.

Active Minds, a campus mental health awareness organization, coordinated the resources and sponsoring organizations.

“We want not only to get the word out about how unfortunately common domestic abuse is, but to reduce the stigma associated with getting help,” Fort Worth senior Rachel Chasse, president of Active Minds, said.

The women of Alpha Chi Omega partnered with the event because of its support for their philanthropy, domestic violence awareness.

“We wanted to make it about those issues that women face — date rape and domestic violence — and just make it something that people can see and hear about from their fellow students,” Dallas junior Grace Kelsoe, service chair for Baylor’s Theta Iota chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, said.

Organizers of Take Back the Night emphasized that more than just victims feel the effects of sexual assault and domestic violence.

“It’s something that affects everyone, either directly or indirectly through a peer. The message doesn’t bypass anyone and it’s a pretty powerful event,” Chasse said.

The event began with a prayer led by Burt Burleson, university chaplain, and ended with a candlelight vigil to honor survivors and victims of domestic abuse.

Common Grounds provided free coffee for those in attendance.