Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Campus women to gather tonight to ‘take back the night’ with town march

Credit: Calkin
Credit: Calkin

Tonight at 9 p.m., students will meet at Reid Campus Center to “take back the night.”

The evening will start with a march in town and on campus, followed by a moment of silence in front of Memorial and an open mic session in the basement of Reid.

Take Back the Night events occur internationally throughout the year: the time and place are irrelevant. What matters instead is the message that’s conveyed: a message of empowerment and of intolerance for sexual violence.  

Juniors Nikki Schulz, Laura Deering and Christy Henderson coordinated Whitman’s first Take Back the Night event last spring for a project in their gender studies class.  

Junior Jacqueline Kamm, a member of Whitman’s Sexual Assault Advisory Board, helps coordinate programming for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April). She attended Take Back the Night last year and wanted the event to continue. She approached Schulz, Deering and Henderson about putting on the evening again. Deering and Schulz agreed to join her.  

This year, though, Take Back the Night isn’t the product of an academic assignment. Instead, Schulz, Deering and Kamm are heading up the project out of their own interest.

Schulz describes their motives as “feeling strongly enough about it to want do something.”

All three agreed that last year’s open mic was particularly powerful.

“Hearing these people speak about their experiences tells you the gravity of the situation and shows you how many people have been really affected, even at Whitman College,” said Deering.

The open mic provides a venue for honest and open discussion about sexual harassment.  

 “Sexual assault is labeled as a silent crime in that people don’t ever talk about it: so it’s our goal to get people talking,” said Schulz.

The open mic will also include student performances, such as poetry readings, dances and songs. Whitman’s all-female A capella group, The Sirens of Swank, will also perform.

Deering said last year’s Take Back the Night was the most meaningful event she ever attended.

“After seeing it last year, I don’t know why you wouldn’t come,” she said. “Actually hearing people speak honestly and completely openly about a totally personal and damaging event is just really amazing.”

For more information about Take Back the Night, visit takebackthenight.org. Join Whitman students at Reid at 9 p.m. this evening to help take back the night.

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    ElenaMay 1, 2009 at 10:50 am

    While I am very glad to see that Take Back the Night is occurring at Whitman, I am slightly disappointed with the claim that last year was the first time that Take Back the Night had taken place at Whitman. I can state that TBTN was held annually from 1999-2002. I assume the event continued past 2002 but do not know for certain since I had graduated by then. This event used to be sponsored by the student organization FACE (previously the Women’s Center). I hope that continuation of TBTN does not rest on a few students who are willing to take responsibility for organizing it.