The UCF community will remember the lives of domestic violence victims during its 8th annual Light Up the Night event at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12, in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union.

The event, which coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, meant to encourage people to talk about the taboo subject of domestic violence and get a better idea of the impact this crime has not only on the victims, but the entire community.

“Relationship abuse affects everyone,” said Sarah Laake, assistant director of UCF Victim Services, which sponsors the event each year. “It could be a professor, someone in your study group, a relative, the person next to you in the library. We encourage anyone and everyone to join us at Light Up the Night to learn how abuse impacts our community and honor Knights who have lost their lives to intimate partner violence.”

During the program attendees will see a ceremony called “An Empty Place at the Table.” It is set up to honor at least seven people with UCF ties who have died as a result of intimate partner violence. It is meant to shine light on the deadly effects of abuse and memorialize domestic violence victims, Laake said.

Attendees also will hear from two survivors of domestic violence, and from Tomas Lares, founder of Florida Abolitionist. The organization’s mission is to end all forms of human trafficking in the U.S. Lares will speak about intimate partner violence and its close relation to human trafficking. Orlando Police Officer William Powell will speak about the use of technology in relation to stalking and how police respond to domestic violence calls.

More than 13 campus and community organizations that serve victims of domestic abuse will also have tables at the event to answer questions and provide resources.

UCF Light up the Night is one of several events planned this month to keep the conversation about domestic violence going. Others include:

  • The Clothesline Project, a national effort to give survivors of domestic abuse an opportunity to express their emotions by decorating a T-shirt. Everyone is encouraged to decorate T-shirts as a way to show their support of domestic violence prevention. Tables with decorating supplies will be available at the Student Union every Wednesday this month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The shirts will be hung inside the Student Union throughout October.
  • Join UCF Victim Services and SafeHouse of Seminole as they host a Paint it Purple event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14th. The event will take place at Student Union Patio, a “PURPLE PARTY” booth will be set up and will provide information and freebies to students as well as raise awareness about Intimate Partner Violence. For more information on the event and the campaign can be seen on their website
  • UCF Victim Services will also host, My Costume is Not My Consent, on the Student Union Patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The event is intended to start a conversation with students and remind everyone that no matter how revealing a Halloween costume may be, it’s not an invitation to skip out on consent.
  • For more information about Light Up the Night, contact Sarah Laake at 407-823-6332. For assistance and resources, contact Victim Services on their 24/7 Advocacy & Support hotline407-823-1200 or visit their website.