Twanna LaTrice Hill has experienced violence in her life, and the strength she took from her experiences has helped her vocalize the importance of women finding their voice against abuse.
As part of Take Back the Night, Hill spoke out about violence against women to a crowd of about 40 to 50 students, faculty and community members Wednesday night at the Lory Student Center.
"We do not have the problem. Men have the problem," said Hill, a public policy director for the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "These are not just women's issues. These are men's issues."
Men cause 95 percent of domestic violence and child sexual abuse, make up 99.8 percent of rape incarcerations, and are involved in 99 percent of road rage incidents, she said.
Hill did not want to discount abuse by women, but "the bottom line is men are the ones committing the majority of crimes," she said.
Hill does not know how to change the amount of abuse against women. However, she said jails need to have treatment programs, grade schools need more programs educating students about violence, and high schools need to create organized abuse programs.
"Nobody should be locked up that isn't dealt with," Hill said.
Also on Hill's agenda was how people need to find their voice.
Emily Hornback, a senior Spanish major and member of the Campus Feminist Alliance, said she really enjoyed Hill's speech, especially the part about "speaking out and finding one's voice, (because) it shows the world you are not afraid."
People finding their voice is the point of Take Back the Night; it creates a space to talk about abuse, violence and sexual assault, Hornback said.
"Before we can make change, we need to talk about the issues directly," she said.
Hill encouraged people to attend the speak-outs today, either to participate or to listen to people's stories.
The speak-out for people who identify themselves as women is at 5:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Food Court. For people who identify themselves as men, the speak-out is at 5:30 p.m. at the south end of the Oval. The women's march to Old Town will start at 7 p.m. with a joint rally at 8 p.m. Leslie Feinberg, a transgender activist and writer, will speak at the rally.
Dave Braham, a family therapy graduate student who helped organize the men's rally, said the men's speak-out is important because abuse is a men's issue and violence needs to end.
"People should come to gain awareness and empowerment about issues that concern themselves, our friends and our families," Braham said.