On April 15 – 18, Houghton students have the opportunity to participate in the Take Back the Night (TBTN) movement through a series of events meant to raise awareness of, and combat, sexualized violence.
It is estimated one in three women worldwide has been forced into sex, beaten, or otherwise abused during her lifetime by a friend, colleague, partner, stranger, or employer. Less than 50% of these crimes are reported to the police.
“Take Back the Night fills a niche at Houghton that otherwise remains somewhat silent: speaking out against sexual abuse in our own community and in our own families,” says Lydia Strand ’13. “I'm excited for this conversation to continue here on Houghton's campus, and I hope it is one that continues in the years to come.”
Monday, April 15, there will be a kick-off event in the campus center. Students may bring items on which Printed Matter Press will print TBTN logos. A panel discussion on rape culture in America will follow at 7 p.m. in room 323 of the library.
Wednesday, April 17, department of theology chair and associate professor of religion Dr. Kristina LaCelle-Peterson will lead chapel, followed by a Q&A lunch period.
The last event of the week will be at 8 pm Thursday, April 18. Those wishing to participate are invited to gather at the chapel steps where they will begin a march around the quad and “speak out” against sexual violence. During the march participants will pause at stations providing educational and artistic reflections on sexualized violence and rape. Afterwards participants are invited into the chapel for a speakout, where survivors or friends and family of survivors of sexualized violence are invited to share their stories.
Senior class president Sydnie Cunningham ’13 has helped plan Take Back the Night events for the past three years and says, “Take Back the Night highlights issues that are not often talked about on campus. Our goal on campus is to create a safe environment where we can all discuss these issues through events and initiatives.”
Take Back the Night was established in 2001 by Katie Koestner. In 1999 Koestner became the first woman to speak out nationally about date rape. She worked with others to establish international headquarters and the charitable 501(c)3 foundation Take Back the Night, which seeks to end all sexualized violence, including sexual assault, domestic, and dating violence.
Cunningham concludes, “We advocate the rights of everyone to feel safe from sexual violence.”