On Sunday, April 28th, Augustana will be hosting a Take Back the Night event. Take Back the Night is an event meant to promote sexual freedom and sexual assault prevention. Students have been invited to share stories, art, poetry, or anything they’d like during the event. There will also be several key speakers addressing the theme.
In light of recent events on campus, an event like Take Back the Night is more important than ever. Rape culture is present in every facet of our lives, and that sadly includes our time at college. Take Back the Night serves to highlight the 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men that are survivors of sexual assault. In the media, abusers are often given a chance to tell their story, while survivors and victims are dismissed as liars, or silenced by abusers with power. Take Back the Night is an opportunity for survivors to tell their stories in a space where they are comfortable and protected.
Take Back the Night has a rich history, dating back to the 70s, and protests against violence towards women. The official foundation was born in 2001, and by 2019, over 300 events have been held. There are even internships with the foundation to help plan and fundraise for events. The Take Back the Night events usually consist of a forum for survivors to share stories, art, and music, then a candellight vigil for victims of sexual and domestic abuse, and a march or walk. Women and men are invited to literally take back the night—they walk in solidarity, because women do not feel safe walking at night.
The Take Back the Night website allows survivors of sexual abuse to share their stories anonymously. These stories serve to remind us why Take Back the Night is needed, but also to allow survivors to share their voices and potentially inspire others who are suffering in silence. It is so important for survivors to have a voice, because oftentimes, their abusers are the ones telling a story. Both survivors and victims have been silenced for too long, but Take Back the Night is a safe space for them to tell their stories of sexal and domestic abuse.