Courtesy Take Back the Night

Students take back the night

At the “Take Back the Night” event, crowds showed up to support victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse.

Last Wednesday night, around 80 people attended Take Back the Night. This night historically ties in with marches that began back in the 1970s through Europe and America to protest violence against women. It was the first time in a couple of years that it has occurred on the TU campus.

Speaker Dee Jakubowski started the event on the steps of McFarlin Library at 8 p.m. Jakubowski is a hospital advocate from Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS). In her speech, she used a “Wizard of Oz” analogy where Dorothy was a sexual assault survivor who relied on her friends, family and community to get back to “Kansas,” or a state of feeling more secure with herself and her past.

At the end of her speech, Jakubowski adapted the popular “Winnie the Pooh” quote in saying, “she’s braver than she believes, she’s stronger than she seems and she’s tougher than she thought.”

The march stopped at about six places around campus before its final destination at Hardesty Plaza. Kelsey Hancock guided the large group with relevant facts along the way.

Alexander Health Center was the first stop on the march. Hancock said the counseling center that could see survivors of multiple forms of violence, as well as direct those it could not see to other resources. It can also be a place to report these incidents, as well as Campus Security. DVIS was again mentioned as a resource to use after hours.

Next, the crowd stopped in front of United Campus Ministries, more commonly known as The Little Blue House. Hancock informed the marchers that the Little Blue House houses many clubs on campus, such as Pride (the LGBTQ+ friendly group on campus), Students for Gender Equality, Headstrong: Student Advocates for Mental Health and Earth Matters. They have Veggie Lunches at noon on Wednesdays and are usually open as a safe space for students.

Hancock briefly pointed out the Collins Fitness Center. There, Campus Security offers a brief class called Rape Aggression Defense. She told the group that people have “body autonomy” and thus “have the right to take up space.”
Collins Hall was next on the route. Matthew Warren, Title IX Coordinator, works there, said Hancock. Another special guest in attendance spoke up. “Is there, uh, anyone else in there?” spoke Gerard Clancy, tugging on his ear.

Audiences chuckled at the president’s joke. Hancock added that Clancy is also housed in Collins, and that both have an open-door policy.

Campus Security was mentioned again while passing by it as a safe place to report any violence on campus.

The crowds advanced by the Greek life housing on its path. Kyla Sloan shouted chants, created by Maureen Haynes, including, “Hey hey, ho ho, victim blaming has got to go!” up sorority row, and, “What do we want? Consent! When do we want it? Always!” down fraternity row.

Finally, the march made it to it’s last destination at the Hardesty Plaza. T-shirts made by students on campus lined the procession on the wheelchair ramp. The messages ranged from show of support to stories from survivors.
Dean of Students Mike Mills briefly spoke at the end of the march. “Take back tomorrow night, and the next night, and keep going,” he concluded.

“Take Back the Night” finished with cookies, soda and general merriment as friends sang along to songs from “Wicked” and others discussed relevant topics. Even a dog was in attendance and accepted pets from most of the crowd at one point or another.

While the mood was generally cheerful, no one forgot the general mission behind the occasion. “We are really looking to make this an annual event,” stated Hancock.

Despite the cold, Take Back the Night was powerful and informative.

Post Author: Madison Connell