‘Take Back the Night’ a Success

The first annual Take Back the Night offered students creative and educational events to raise awareness about sexual violence.

Take Back the Night, held on campus April 25 in the Wells Fargo Ampitheater, is a nationwide movement and event aimed to ending sexual and domestic violence. The Take Back the Night Foundation serves to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives. It seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.

“The really cool thing about this event is that it traditionally consists of three parts: pre-rally, march, and speak out, but we are adding a reflection campfire to the end of ours,” said Taylor Daton, senior occupational therapy major and PHREE member.

The pre-rally consisted of tables offering educational material, and there were many activities. A march around campus supported victims of sexual and domestic violence and helped raise awareness for  this cause. The speak out enabled attendees to talk about their experiences.

Daton said the speak out invited anyone, regardless of gender, to talk about their experiences with violence.

“This event is free from Title IX, meaning that anyone who wishes to speak to anyone about events that may have happened to them or someone they know, or speak their story at the speak out will not be reported.”

Students also took part in an event called “The Clothesline Project,” which was a display of t-shirts made by those who have experienced violence. The project enabled attendees to share their story or the story of a loved one.

Take Back the Night is designed to help empower people who might think they don’t have a voice help them if they are afraid to talk. People are invited to share and know that what happened to them isn’t their fault.

Daton hopes students stand up and support each other.

“I hope this empowers individuals to stand up against sexual and domestic violence and gives individuals a voice to speak about their experiences and a chance to heal and/or help others through their experiences, said Daton.

Daton said she wants to help victims of sexual and domestic violence.

“I chose to help with this event because I believe that everyone should be empowered with a voice to speak their truth. I want to be there to help individuals and be a part of a movement to end sexual/domestic violence,” said Daton.

Ewelina Taran, Resident Director and main organizer, said the event was well-attended with over 100 people. Taran credits all the students who ran the event and everyone who showed up for it for its success.

Riley Mckee, a senior speech-language pathology major who attended the event, said, “It [the event] was a very humbling experience. It gave people who were affected by sexual assault in any way the opportunity to speak out in a safe place, and it was really emotional and it was just different. It was a beautiful night and a beautiful event.”

McKee’s favorite part of the night was when everyone held candles at the end and when Beyond Harmony performed vocal magic.

Because April is Sexual Awareness month, members of Promoting Healthy Relationships Through Education and Empowerment  (PHREE) held events  throughout the month for “Change the Culture! Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2018.”

Students who are interested in helping to bring an end to sexual and domestic violence should contact Ewelina Taran, PHREE Advisor at [email protected].