WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Roughly 100 walked and a dozen had spoken before the night was over.

Their words, delivered in a Williams College hall after a candlight procession on campus, wrenched the heart but were uttered with the twin aims of empowerment and solidarity.

A show of support for survivors of rape and sexual assault, the event found many victims among the students who made it happen. The demonstration ended with an open mic, where students were encouraged to speak about their experiences.

Participants crowded into a dimmed room in Greylock Hall. They told of assaults perpetrated by boyfriends, family members and other trusted people. Frequently, the assaults had occurred on campus -- one in that very room.

"It's a continual struggle," one student who spoke said. "I'm still mad that, years later, it can affect me, because it's a part of me I did not choose."

"It's everywhere," said a second. "I see [the perpetrator] all the time. I think about it all the time. And when I do, I think it's my fault."

A third said, "So often you keep going back to that night and still you get no closer to what actually happened. It's a deeply frightening thing."

Tuesday's demonstration came at a time when similar ones are being planned and carried off in places all over the world, called Take Back the Night events/rallies. They take place in April because it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

RASAN, the Williams College Rape and Sexual Assault Network, hosted the event.

A 2012 survey by the American College Health Association found that, out of 832 Williams College student respondents, 15.2 percent of females and 3.5 percent of males experienced sexual touching without consent. In the same survey of Williams College students, 5.9 percent of females and 1.2 percent of males experienced an attempt at sexual penetration without consent; and 3.2 percent of females and 0.5 percent of males experienced sexual penetration without consent.

The figures were noticeably higher than the ACHA statistics for residential undergraduate liberal arts institutions.

Many of Tuesday's speakers named post-traumatic stress disorder, feelings of helplessness, isolation and self-blame as just some of the lingering effects of a sexual assault.

"It commonly occurs under the pretext of trust," one of the event's keynote student speakers said. "It's not as simple as walking away. I cared about this guy, wanted to have a relationship with him and make him happy. He took advantage of that."

The abuse went on for months, she said.

"It is still difficult for me to say out loud that these things are 100 percent his fault and zero percent mine," she said. "Even as I say them now, I really don't believe them."

She continued, "Even if I cannot say these things with complete conviction, I can at least say this: I am a survivor of sexual assault, and this is me, finally, standing up."