Take Back the Night creates safe space for all
Take Back the Night creates safe space for discussion
On Wednesday, members of the Syracuse University community gathered in Hendricks Chapel to take part in Take Back the Night. The annual event, now in its 18th year, allows students to speak out and rally against sexual and relationship violence and other forms of interpersonal violence. This is the first time this event has been held in person in two years.
“We are honored to serve as hosts for take back the night to strengthen community, courage, education and support,” said Rev. Brian Konkol, Dean of Hendricks Chapel. “This is more than a moment. But this is a movement, a global movement to call attention to the chasm between the way the world is and the way we want the world to be. And by calling attention to that chasm, we can name and claim the truth of our presence.”
The event was split into two parts, a rally, and a march. Speakers from multiple organizations came out in support, including SU Title IX Coordinator Dr. Sheila Johnson-Willis.
“Our work continues to the culture of respect collective and other programs,” Johnson-Willis said. “Take Back the Night is designed to unite us and purpose. However, as always, our commitment must extend beyond today.”
She goes on to note how important programs and events such as Take Back the Night have on college campuses.
“No single program or series of programs can sustain the culture we want on our campus, one of trust, respect, inclusiveness and safety,” Johnson-Willis said. “Each of us must take responsibility for our own actions and responsibility for each other.”
For junior Carla Guariglia, Take Back the Night holds a special place in her heart. As the founder and president of Stand With Survivors SU, a coalition that demands justice for sexual survivors on campus, Guariglia stresses the importance of developing a support system and ending rape culture on college campuses.
“Being a survivor means being a supporter, which can take a level of risk, visibility, vulnerability and strength,” Guariglia said. “Our network gives us power and us working together makes us strong. These events like Take Back the Night are so important for survivors because of the network. It opens us up to whether it be one person or an entire group of people. That connection is imperative.”
Following the rally, participants took part in a march around the campus, leading back to Hendricks Chapel. In previous years, there has been a speak-out, but this year instead featured a virtual bulletin board where students can post messages of support and encouragement.
“I think about the impact of every single incident of sexual assault that has happened on this campus, or as we often heard when we had this speak out here in person, the situations of sexual assault, violence in the home, harm and hurt that have happened prior to people coming to campus that have then been reinforced,” said Randi Bregman, Co-Executive Director of Vera House and this year’s keynote speaker. “I think of how important it is that we talked about it and that we commit to doing something about it, which is part of what we’re here for tonight. I asked you, what is your mind for being here tonight? What is your why? And whatever it is in your heart, carried forth, share it with other people, and bring others into the movement.”
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual or relationship violence, there are resources available on and off-campus.
- On Campus
- Confidential Consultation: Barnes Center Counseling (315.443.8000 – 24/7)
- Private Consultative: Case managers in the Dean of Students Office (315.443.4357) are also available to provide support, review reporting options and procedural advisement.
- Private Consultation: Title IX (Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services) 315-443-0211
- Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224 or 711 from campus phones, #SU from cellular phones
- Confidential Consultation: Vera House (315.468.3260)
- Syracuse Police Department (315.435.3016)