In the dimness of the evening, small lights flickered atop the Rabb steps on Thursday, April 6. As members of the Brandeis community trickled into the annual Take Back the Night gathering, organizers handed out electric candles to each individual in preparation for the oncoming march across campus.

Representatives from the Rape Crisis Center, Queer Resource Center and the Office of Prevention Services wore bright glow sticks around their necks, working with event organizers and attendees to help Take Back the Night.

According to its official website, TBTN is a volunteer organization that has, since the 1960s, endeavored to “end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse, and all other forms of sexual violence.” The University hosts a TBTN event annually as a part of Sexual Violence Awareness Week, organized in part by the Brandeis Feminist Majority Alliance.

The event organizers expressed gratitude toward the attendees and explained the guidelines of the event, stating that no one should ask for elaboration from survivors who choose to share their stories, take identifying photos or quote stories without declared permission from the speaker. Organizers then invited everyone to walk in solidarity with survivors across campus. The route, which typically runs through individual quads, was altered due to rainy weather, only stopping at the Shapiro Campus Center before advancing to the Shapiro Admissions Center.

“2-4-6-8. No more violence. No more rape!” the attendees chanted as the group marched down campus, umbrellas in tow. Despite the noise of rain and thunder, individual voices came together, sounding above it, chanting, “Shatter the silence! Stop the violence!”

Upon arriving in the SCC, the group formed a circle and shouted, “Hey, Brandeis! Take back the night!” Afterward, there was time for individuals to speak or share their stories. The organizers kicked off the conversation with gratitude: “Thank you ... for your commitment to dialogue and change on this campus.”

Although no individuals chose to share personal stories at this time, several attendees chimed in with statistics, emphasizing the prevalence and damaging consequences of sexual violence.

Organizers also read out anonymous stories submitted to the official TBTN website. “It was not my fault,” one story concluded. Another story assured others, “I am truly sorry. Please know that it’s not your fault, and don’t let the scum who did that to you rule your life.”

The march progressed to Admissions, where the group held a moment of silence in solidarity with survivors. TBTN concluded with a following, private event for individuals to continue the conversation, which was not open to the press.