Students Participate in Worldwide Take Back the Night Event



Lauren D'Angelo

On Monday, April 11, students embraced the surprisingly sunny weather by playing Frisbee on the quad and donning their Nantucket red shorts. The weather seemed to be a perfect setting for the annual Take Back the Night March, which was to occur at 6:30 p.m. that night. As the time of the march neared, the weath­er quickly shifted to a downpour of rain; yet not even adverse weather could deter a dedicated group of Col­gate students and faculty from mov­ing forward on their campus-wide march from Frank Dining Hall to the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop).

Take Back the Night is a globally recognized event that provides a safe en­vironment for people to protest sexual violence and for victims to share their very personal stories in a confidential speak-out afterwards. The event has ex­isted in the United States for over thirty years now, with colleges across the na­tion offering students – usually females – the chance to further their mission to end sexual violence. At Colgate, The Network, which is a group that is part of the Center for Outreach, Volunteer­ism and Education (COVE), and the Women’s Studies Department, sponsor the event.

“This event is important because it is a great way to bring awareness to a problem that needs to be addressed on campus—sexual assault and rape,” sophomore Rebecca Raudabaugh said.

Raudabaugh and junior Terica Ad­ams, the co-leaders of The Network, organized the event with the help of community sponsor Liberty Resourc­es. Both Raudabaugh and Adams vol­unteer for Liberty Resources, which offers services to women who have been affected by sexual violence.

After assembling in the entrance of Frank, the participants listened to Adams recount the origins of Take Back the Night and its purpose on Colgate’s campus. The group passed around sheets with chants that would be repeated by the participants in uni­son while Adams used a megaphone to make sure their voices were heard. The group started with the chant, “2-4-6-8, no more date rape”. Oth­ers included “We have the power, we have the right, the streets are ours, take back the night” and “Strong women, proud women, together tonight, no more fright, together we fight,” among many more.

After leaving Frank, the group marched to the Satellite Health Clinic, where Director of Student Health Ser­vices Dr. Merill L. Miller spoke about rape kits and post-rape health concerns. From there, the participants made stops at Cutten Hall, Broad Street, the stop­light at Kendrick Street, Case-Geyer Library, the Chapel, the freshman quad and finally the Coop as their final desti­nation. When the group arrived at each point on the march, members would speak about their own experience with sexual violence, an event that influ­enced someone close to them, or the dangers of sexual violence in general.

Upon arriving at the Coop, the group moved to the TV Room, where the Speak Out was held. At the Speak Out, anyone in attendance had the opportunity to share his or her personal stories about sexual violence.

“The speak out part of Take Back the Night is a place where survivors, friends of survivors, and allies can speak openly without fear of judg­ment. It is a safe space where we can come together as a community to talk about this issue and share our stories,” senior Casey Schmidt, a participant and intern for the Department of Women’s Studies said.

Ultimately, the Take Back the Night March reminded students of the prevalence of sexual violence and how easily and profoundly it can affect people’s lives.

“The most important thing a student can do is be aware of the problem—acknowledge it, and talk about it with friends. It is some­thing that should it happen to you, or someone you know, you want to be prepared,” Raudabaugh said.