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Taking Back the Night

Caroline Ashford Arya

Caroline Ashford Arya

Kate Grumbles, Staff Reporter

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This Thursday at 7 p.m. outside Cordiner, “Take Back the Night” will begin with a march around campus. The event is open to everyone, and organizers strive to bring awareness to sexual violence and show solidarity for survivors of assault.

Take Back the Night is a national event held on college campuses, and has a relatively long tradition at Whitman. The event is organized and hosted by FACE, the Feminists Advocating for Change and Empowerment club on campus. It will begin with poster making in front of Cordiner starting at 6 p.m., a march around campus at 7 p.m., and then after the march, survivors of sexual assault will tell their stories in the foyer of Cordiner. The event was organized by co-presidents of FACE, Bryn Louise and Willa Johnson.

This event takes place every year at Whitman, but organizers say the message of Take Back the Night, that is to bring awareness to sexual assault on campus, continues to remain relevant. Bryn Louise spoke about what she hopes the effect of the event will be this year at Whitman.

Caroline Ashford Arya

“Just because we do this every year doesn’t mean the outcome will be the same every year,” Louise said. “Especially concerning recent events on campus, I just hope that victims of sexual violence get the support they deserve, and hopefully this will be a catalyzing moment for stuff going forward in terms of sexual violence on campus.”

Johnson spoke about her desire that the victims and survivors of assault who attend this event will feel welcomed and supported by a community of allies.

“One of the biggest takeaways is for people to know that they’re not alone. People are out there who went through similar experiences to them, and that there’s support for them,” Johnson said. “Sexual assault and sexual violence are very prevalent here, both at Whitman and in students’ lives in general. Having that awareness, and having this not be an issue that we shove under the table or ignore, but instead bringing it out and having it be a very direct, ‘in your face’ way of confronting sexual violence.”

Louise also mentioned that people who have never attended these events may be surprised at the startling number of people that sexual violence impacts.

“I think people who don’t attend events like these or aren’t involved will be surprised at how many people sexual violence actually affects. It’s kind of heavy, as an event, as sexual violence is a heavy subject,” Louise said.

Caroline Ashford Arya

Sophomore Danielle Hirano, who attended the event last year and plans to return this year, was impacted by her experience listening to the stories of sexual assault survivors last year. She hopes that people who attend will gain a better understanding of how sexual assault impacts people.

“I feel like victims of sexual assault and violence are silenced, whether or not they choose to report their results. This is a space for survivors to have that voice … and tell the story from their perspective,” Hirano said. “For people attending, whether you’re a survivor or not, I hope that you hear some powerful stories and you walk away having a better idea and a bigger picture of what it is like to be a victim of sexual assault.”

Caroline Ashford Arya

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Taking Back the Night