30th Annual “Take Back The Night” Rally Takes Place in Blacksburg

On the evening of Thursday, March 28th, music began to play as a small crowd gathered in downtown Blacksburg near the Henderson Lawn. The small crowd slowly grew as the music got louder and microphones echoed with announcements about the event starting shortly. Although many were confused about the random gathering of demonstrators, this marked the beginning of the 30th annual “Take Back The Night” rally in Blacksburg, a staple of the community.

 

 

What is “Take Back The Night”?

According to the Take Back The Night Foundation’s website, this event “represents the earliest worldwide stand against sexual violence, especially violence against women”. The Blacksburg rally occurs annually, with support from the United Feminist Movement, The Virginia Tech Women’s Center, SAVES, and The Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley.

 

What does the event involve?

This event consists of two parts. One is the beginning, which involves hearing from speakers and survivors about their experience with gender-based violence. The second part involves marching around campus and downtown Blacksburg, chanting messages of hope and power in unison. The chants were placed in the program so that attendees could follow along and feel empowered to join in with the crowd. Many students and others on campus were shocked seeing a large mob moving through the sidewalks; many stopped and stared, asking what was happening. The impact that this event has goes beyond giving a simple answer to those curious. The literal message is followed as those involved in the march “take back the night” by walking campus in the dark, together in solidarity.

 

 

What is the impact of this event?

This event is meant to give a safe space and a voice for survivors of gender-based violence, while honoring those who have lost their lives due to it. Speakers touch on stories from across the United States and internationally, as well as detailing experiences more close to home, even including ways that Virginia Tech has let survivors down in the past. This event also includes a chance for allies, especially men, to get involved and show their support. This problem isn’t just a single-gender issue and this work takes many getting involved to work towards better solutions.

 

 

How can I get involved?

Many of the groups involved in this rally are always looking for students and others to get involved in their mission. This involves possibly interning with them, volunteering, donating, and more. These organizations greatly benefit the Blacksburg and Virginia Tech communities. Also, since this event occurs every year, there will be chances to get involved then.

 

In conclusion, one of the smallest, but best ways you can get involved is by being an ally. Check in on your friends and those around you. Listen to what they have to say. Believe them. Work to amplify their voice, but be a safe place for them to confide in. Work hard to fight against injustice in your community moving beyond your time at Virginia Tech.

 

Resources:

Cook Counseling Center

McComas Hall, RM 240, Virginia Tech

895 Washington Street SW

Blacksburg, VA 24061

540-231-6557

 

Virginia Tech Women’s Center

206 Washington Street (Yellow House)

Phone 540-231-7806

Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

After-hours assistance:

If this is an emergency contact 911

Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley, 540-639-1123

Virginia Tech Police, 540-382-4343 (non-emergency)

 

Image Sources:

The first image was taken by the author and the remaining gifs are from Giphy.