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Rockford College student aims to help women

Monday, October 12, 2009  
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By Elizabeth Davies
Posted Oct 07, 2009 @ 06:00 AM

ROCKFORD — Sitting in on a college orientation about alcohol abuse, Amy Collinsworth began to realize that plenty of female college students across the country have one unfortunate thing in common: They’ve been sexually attacked or abused.

About Amy Collinsworth

Age: 20
Hometown: Rockford
High School: 2007 graduate of Jefferson High School
Family: Joel and Carla CollinsworthCollinsworth herself knew women in that situation, and she began to see it as more of a problem than perhaps she realized. So along with another Rockford College student, she started planning the school’s first Take Back the Night.

“It’s a program that’s designed to raise awareness of violent acts and abuse against women,” Collinsworth said. “We realized that more students were affected by a violent act or knew someone who was.”

So last spring, she helped launch an event, attended by about 50 people, that included a march around campus, a candlelight ceremony and information about attacks against woman. Her efforts were rewarded recently with a leadership award from Rockford College for Innovation in Programming.

But for Collinsworth, the success of the event was watching some women take a step toward healing.

“There’s life after that,” she said. “It doesn’t have to define you.”

Heading into her junior year, she already is planning to make Take Back the Night an annual event.

“You just don’t want people to feel alone,” she said. “It’s important to know it’s not your fault. It was important to get women out there, to start conversations, to spread knowledge.”

And for the men on campus, Collinsworth wants her event to make a difference in that one crucial moment before a violent act starts. She hopes men “who might instigate these acts would realize the effects of it.”

Beyond her involvement with Take Back the Night, she is active in a variety of areas on the Rockford College Campus. The Rockford native, a marketing major, is also on the campus activities board, president of the school’s college division of Rotary International and has participated in Habitat for Humanity projects during the past two spring breaks. She is an orientation leader and student mentor. She plays trumpet in the school’s newly launched pep band.

Such extracurriculars are simply a way, Collinsworth said, of giving back.

“I’ve always been involved in things,” she said. “It’s ingrained in me to do my best to help other people.”

This story appeared at on October 7, 2009.

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