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JCU takes back the night: Students Empowering Women sheds light on sexual assault through advocacy

April 2nd, 2014

 

On April 7-10, John Carroll University will present “Take Back the Night,” their annual sexual violence awareness event. The main goal of the program is to raise awareness about the dangers and injustices of sexual violence.

 

Take Back the Night is not only a JCU tradition, but also an event celebrated internationally, serving to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives, predominantly marches and rallies. The foundation seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.

 

The Take Back the Night Foundation stresses the importance of women across the world and aims to take back their voices by speaking out against such crimes.

 

In October 1975, the first Take Back the Night event was held in Philadelphia, Pa., where people came together after the murder of Susan Alexander Speeth, a female microbiologist who suffered fatal stab wounds.

 

JCU’s Take Back the Night chapter is sponsored in part by Students Empowering Women and the Violence Prevention and Action Center. Senior Rachael Greuber and junior Brynn Doherty–both members of SEW and co-organizers of the event, have planned all year to make the event possible.

 

“[Take Back The Night] hasn’t had a really big presence until the past couple of years,” said Greuber. “Brynn and I did it last year as a requirement for a philosophy course and ended up falling in love with the event and the organization. We had such an amazing and powerful experience that we decided to do it again.”

 

According to Greuber, TBTN has gained notoriety amongst the student body and faculty members in the most recent years.

 

“Students Empowering Women has always helped with Take Back The Night and really helped us a lot last year,” added Greuber. “About 70 people showed up to the event last year, and it was so cool to see people rally together around this cause. A lot of the philosophy professors require their classes to be involved with our event, which is really nice because they have great resources.”

 

The activities for Take Back the Night are intentionally demonstrative to bring awareness and advocate to specific women’s issues.

 

“There are four events all through the week. There is a “no-bake” sale, where we are selling hot chocolate, lemonade, coffee and we are charging women 77 cents, and men a dollar. On Tuesday, there will be a bystander intervention program with free Chipotle burritos,” said Greuber. “Then on Thursday, is the march and ‘Speak Out.’”

 

“We do the march around campus first, and we stop about four times for someone to read something or share a statistic about the gender wage gap. Then, we end back in the atrium for the ‘Speak Out’,” Greuber said. “It is set up with one chair in the middle and there is a microphone on the chair, so anyone who wants to go up and tell their story or some sort of experience that they’ve had,” Greuber said, “It is a way for victims to start their process of healing and feel that they have a community to surround them. And it is also for those who may not know how big of a problem this is.”

 

For this year’s event, Greuber and other members of Students Empowering Women are hopeful that it will be the best TBTN yet.

 

“Now that we have more of an understanding about what Take Back The Night is, we are so much more passionate about going into it now, with this one year under our belt and we have a better idea of how to plan it. We’ve had meeting for months versus just throwing it together kind of last minute”, said Greuber,“A lot of people who came last year are really rallying around the cause this year. It’s so exciting to see a lot of people excited about the cause,” Greuber said.

 

Events take place from Monday, April 7, to Thursday, April 10, starting with the “No Bake Sale” and ending with the March and “Speak Out”. Free t-shirts and food will be available for those that participate.