TBTN addresses issues of sexual assault on campus
About 200 people walked through campus on Monday night as a part of the annual Take Back the Night rally, a march designed to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus and encourage survivors to share their stories as a means of empowerment. The march started at Rabb steps, continued through North Quad, Rosenthal Quad and Massell Quad, and concluded outside of Spingold Theater.
At the event, organizers began by explaining that the gathering is meant to empower survivors and help them heal. They then led the group on the march, repeating chants between stops such as “unite the night, take back the night” and “2, 4, 6, 8, no more violence, no more rape.” Though no survivors shared stories themselves, several male and female community members shared their experiences related to sexual assault at stops along the way.
One student said, “About 20 million out of 112 million women — 18 percent — in the United States have been raped in their lifetime. A close friend of mine is one of those millions, and I do this for her because a month after she was raped, she still didn’t feel comfortable driving in the car at night with me.”
Participants also read statistics about sexual assault provided by organizers of the event, including the fact that women between the ages of 18 and 24 in college are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than all other women, and women between those ages who are not in college are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than all other women.
At each stop along the way, organizers read survivor stories pulled from the official TBTN website. They ranged from detailing experiences of those who were raped as children to detailing the experiences of those who were raped in and after college, and the lasting impact those experiences have had on their lives.
The march concluded in front of Spingold, where Dean of Students Jamele Adams spoke, saying, “Sometimes, there aren’t the words, but tonight, we represent that there are the people. Sometimes, you may feel like you’re alone, but it’s times like this that we let you know that you are not alone. Tonight, we are here for people who thought nobody would be there for them.”
He then led the crowd in a cheer of “Brandeis, take back the night” and shared a poem he wrote called “Take Back the Night.”
The event ended with a gathering in the Merrick Theater that was closed to the press, in order to allow survivors a private space to share their stories.
The Take Back the Night website states, “Since the 1970s in the United States, TBTN has focused on eliminating sexual and domestic violence in all forms. Thousands of colleges, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers have held events all over the country.”
The Facebook event page read, “We hope that through Take Back the Night, the Brandeis community will step in the direction of creating a caring, supportive community that resists violence and injustice in all forms.”
The event was hosted by Students Talking About Relationships, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, the Women of Color Alliance, the Brandeis Rape Crisis Center and the Queer Resource Center.
—Editor’s Note: Due to a conflict of interest arising from a recent Community Standards Report and legal case, editors Max Moran, Avi Gold and Abby Patkin did not read or edit this article prior to publication. Given the sensitive nature of the event, the Justice made the one-time offer for speakers at the event to withhold their statements from the record. There were some participants who chose to do so.