Take Back the Night raises awareness about sexual violence

Tiffani Smith, News Contributor

Students, community members join campus march

A chance to speak up and have your voice heard. An opportunity to listen, learn and understand. A moment to march together as one, standing up against sexual violence.

Take Back the Night, an event structured around the conversation and fight against sexual violence, specifically on college campuses, took place this Friday in the Student Experience Center Plaza. The event began at 7:30 p.m. with keynote speakers. Participants of the event then marched in unison chanting about how they, as a community, stand up together against sexual violence.

Many different individuals from Oregon State University and the Corvallis community came out to the event to support the cause

“I’m here because I want to take back the night for everyone who doesn’t feel safe walking alone at night or for anyone who’s ever felt danger and to take back the agency in being able to walk on your own around campus and around different places at night without having to worry about danger and to help support survivors as well,” Jessica Clemons, a sophomore studying environmental engineering, said.

According to Phebean Adekunle, a first year master’s student in the women, gender and sexuality program, although she does not know the sexual violence statistics for OSU, she believes it is better to be proactive through events like Take Back the Night and let people know how bad sexual violence really is.

“I feel so elated to be part of this and see the crowd,” Adekunle said. “Everyone coming together as one is a good thing for survivors and I hope it’s going to inspire them to speak out and speak up more after.”

OSU Oregon State Troopers also came to support the cause at Take Back the Night.

According the Eric Judah, an Oregon State Police lieutenant and station commander, OSP has a history of supporting Take Back the Night for years.

“You know the fact of the matter is that it (sexual violence) is not just underreported, but it’s incredibly underreported to law enforcement,” Judah said. “I think it takes a big leap of faith for survivors to want to come forward with law enforcement and if you don’t know your law enforcement, then it’s probably a big obstacle.”

OSU’s OSP attends every event to provide crowd and event safety. However, their attendance at Take Back the Night was also to show their support to survivors and allow individuals to know who OSP troopers are on campus.

“The better the community knows who we are, the more likelihood they are to report to us,” Judah said.

The event ended with an open survivor speakout where survivors of sexual violence were given the opportunity to share their story in front of the crowd of supporters.

“It’s kind of a tradition where we allow folks to kind of just, it’s really unstructured, people just come up, people who’ve experienced this,” Rachel Grisham, the 2016/17 ASOSU president said. “People come up and share their experience in detail and it’s kind of just candid and raw and a time for folks to just listen and encourage each other and uplift each other and just kind of make a really safe space for people to connect.”

According to Grisham, she hopes that the conversation around sexual violence will not end when sexual assault awareness month does.

“I really hope that this is a spring board. Once again, I hope the spring board creates momentum that doesn’t really slow down,” Grisham said. “I hope this is an event that really spurs conversation to start and not stop because when we stop talking about it is when the issues are going to get worse. Talking isn’t going to solve things, but it will start to normalize this. When we allow silence to kind of just permeate our campus, the silence will just sterilize the topic.”

Was this article helpful?