Take Back the Night Week 2014

Whether you’ve heard rumblings about it on campus, you remember it from last year, or you’ve stumbled across the Facebook event, word of Kenyon’s “Take Back the Night Week” has probably reached your ears. I had the pleasure to interview Deirdre Sheridan (’17), a sophomore English major from New Jersey, about the fast-approaching TBTN week.

HC: What is your position with TBTN week?

DS: I'm co-chair of TBTN along with Abhaya Tatavarti, who is also a sophomore.

HC: What exactly is TBTN week? What are its goals, missions, and focus? 

DS: At Kenyon, Take Back the Night is a week of events and discussions focused around preventing sexual violence and abuse, as well as giving a voice to survivors. We want to confront these issues and help the Kenyon community become a safer place for everyone, as well as helping survivors feel they aren't alone and have the support they need and deserve. Take Back the Night's official slogan is "Shatter the Silence, Stop the Violence," and we believe that talking about these issues is the best way to make a change. Take Back the Night is its own organization, but we work with lots of student groups when planning the week, especially Crozier and the SMAs.

HC: How long has it been going on, and why did it start? How has it evolved?

DS: Take Back the Night is a national organization that started in the 1970s, holding rallies and protests to raise awareness of street harassment and sexual violence that often occur at night, hence the name. The goal was to stop sexual violence and abuse, as well as erase the stigma of reporting these crimes. Now, there are Take Back the Night events at colleges and communities all over the country, with the focus ultimately remaining the same: to raise awareness and help survivors of all genders and identities. Most Take Back the Night events are usually held in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. At Kenyon, we hold the events in the fall to help reinforce Kenyon's specific policies on sexual misconduct at the beginning of the school year.

HC: Who is TBTN week aimed for?

DS: Everyone! Anyone can be affected by sexual assault, and anyone can help prevent it. We want these events to reach the entire campus, and our discussions and events are open to all – students, faculty, staff, and community members. We can't stop sexual abuse and violence without support from the entire Kenyon community.

HC: How can people get involved and what specific events happen during the week?

DS: We have a very full week! There are lots of discussions and support groups, as well as some lighter events, like the carnival. The full schedule can be seen here, on our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/867177756627861/

If you want to get involved, just shoot us an email at [email protected]! We're looking for volunteers to help facilitate discussions, [people to run a] table at Peirce, and student organizations to run carnival booths!

HC: When is TBTN week?

DS: September 28th to October 4th! Get ready, because we'll start tabling at Peirce the week before, beginning September 22nd.

HC: Any final words?

DS: Take Back the Night is a great event, but what makes it great is involvement from all of Kenyon. I'd love to see everyone there!