Colgate students marched April 17 in the annual trek around campus termed “Take Back the Night” to raise awareness for sexual assault. Both male and female students marched around campus repeating anti-sexual assault chants. Several marchers stopped along the way to make emphatic speeches and poems on the topic of sexual violence.
“I hope that the march caught people off guard and reminded them that sexual violence affects the people on this campus daily,” Take Back the Night chief organizer senior Juliana Reider said. “There are no days off. By staging our protest and our declaration of intolerance in a mobile form, we were better able to reach a wider range of students.”
Take Back the Night succeeded in its aim to involve as many Colgate students as possible, with students in a nearby softball game even chanting along with the group.
“It was great to know that they supported us and were actively listening to our message,” Reider said.
Take Back the Night was one of several events scheduled in the past month dealing with sexual assault awareness, including Greek Week’s Walk A Mile In Her Shoes and a silent rally outside the Colgate Memorial Chapel this past Monday. By speaking out incessantly, student groups have demonstrated their serious concern over the issue and its continued effect on a large number of Colgate students.
“Sexual assault tends to be a subject people in general would rather forget about. This is dangerous for everyone involved. A culture of silence puts pressure on survivors who decided not to come forward or report their assaults. The silence also contributes to the rape culture on campus. If no one hears our declaration of intolerance, rape culture will continue to be perpetuated and assaults be more and more likely to occur,” Reider said.
Although the march was originally scheduled for last Tuesday and was rescheduled due to inclement weather, the turnout was high and succeeded in educating Colgate students about the prevalence of sexual violence on campus.
“Although not every one of our speakers could come due to the last minute change, everyone felt charged and empowered by the march and we maintained our high energy throughout our entire march. I have been to the march every semester I’ve been on campus, and this last one will be the one I remember most,” Reider said.