Take Back the Night Brings Awareness to Sexual Assault

April is dedicated to Sexual Assault Awareness. To start things off here at Florida State, the Women’s Student Union is partnering with VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood and many other campus organizations to host Take Back the Night. The purpose of this event is to bring further awareness to sexual assault, to honor survivors, and to empower all women and men who have been affected by sexual assault.

Courtesy: Ashley-Marie Vaz

Take Back the Night and Empowering Women Globally Co-President Raigan Priest explains the significance of tonight’s event. “Take Back the Night is a national event to bring awareness to sexual assault, occuring specifically on college campuses. 1 in 4 of every woman is sexually assaulted on a campus, so this is an issue that is plaguing our friends, sisters and classmates. We’re trying to bring awareness and offer ways to prevent sexual assault, let survivors know they are not alone, and of the great support systems Tallahassee has to offer.”

Ashley-Marie Vaz and Kristen Sanders are the head organizers of Take Back the Night this year, and when asked what they would love for this event to accomplish, their answers were filled with compassion.

“I would love for Take Back The Night to give survivors a chance to share their story to the student body, to enlighten students that may not be aware of the importance of advocating consent, to hopefully encourage a student survivor to let them know they aren't alone and to not be afraid to share their story," said Assistant Director of the Women’s Student Union Ashley-Marie Vaz.

The importance of sexual assault awareness becomes more and more evident every day, and awareness is without a doubt increasing. From The Hunting Ground documentary came Lady Gaga’s Oscar Nominated song “Til It Happens to You,” and her performance at the Oscars was able to provide a stage (literally) for assault survivors to be heard and the problem to be acknowledged.

"I want Take Back The Night to really touch participants. I want the event to show them that sexual assault is a real, life-breathing epidemic that is crippling our campus. Through survivors’ stories, I want them to think critically about consent and bystander intervention," said VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood Representative Kristen Sanders. 

The momentum sexual assault awareness has recently gained makes Take Back the Night that much more important. “FSU has been controversial for far too long on where it stands in supporting rape victims. As students, it's time we take matters into our own hands and let our voices be heard. That's why Take Back the Night is so important. It is putting a spotlight on stories that are often silenced by major universities," said Sanders.

Take Back the Night will be taking place Monday, April 4 on Union Green from 7-9 p.m. There will be seating available in the form of blankets spread out on the ground and an MC will be kicking off the evening by outlining the agenda. Included in the evening’s activities is a supportive walk, food and refreshments, stories from survivors and a candle-lit vigil. “I’m really excited about the awareness walk we are having because I think it will unite everyone as we proudly walk through campus holding signs that proclaim we will not tolerate assault and stand strong with survivors,” said Priest.

Make sure to RSVP to the event here.