SU students rally, march and speak out for Take Back The Night

Take Back The Night inspires student to rally, speak out

Syracuse University hosted its 15th annual Take Back the Night on March 27.
Published: March 28, 2019
SU Take back the night feminism
A row of T-shirts hangs as a demonstration in Hendricks Chapel.

On March 27, Take Back the Night was held in Hendricks Chapel. The event, in its 15th year, saw hundreds of students fill the space to speak out against sexual and relationship violence and other forms of bias and interpersonal violence.

The event was put together by a planning committee of ten members, several volunteers and endorsed by over 50 student organizations, fraternities, sororities, departments and nonprofits.

“Take Back the Night to me means providing an opportunity for victims of sexual violence to have a platform to speak their truth or express their truth, whatever that may mean to them,” said Ryan Patel, a senior public health and biology major and member of the planning committee. “And to also provide a resource and space where people feel comfortable and to encourage us to end sexual and relationship violence that are prevalent within our society.”

The event was broken up into three parts: a rally, a march and a speak out. The night began with the rally in the chapel featuring students from the planning committee, the Office of Health Promotion’s Peer Educators Encouraging Healthy Relationships (PEEHRS) program and faculty and staff from different departments on campus.

The PEEHRS did a presentation and skits on the pyramid of violence and being an active bystander.

The key note speaker for the night was Rebecca Ortiz, an assistant professor in the department of advertising in the Newhouse School. Ortiz conducts research in health communication and media and has focused on sexual assault prevention as well.

“Many of us will never experience sexual or relationship violence and most people will never perpetrate it, so it hasn’t happened to you and you feel confident that you would never be a perpetrator and while you never may have experienced it personally some of your friends, your family, your colleagues, peers will or already have,” Ortiz said.

She went on to note that millions of Americans experience it every year and it is an issue that is deeply rooted and affects our communities.

“Sexual and relationship violence is ultimately something that affects all of us regardless of whether we personally experience it or not,” Ortiz said. “And sexual and relationship violence can happen to anyone.”

Ortiz stressed the importance of not only empathizing with survivors but being an active bystander and above all showing compassion.

“While we all have different backgrounds and experiences, we are all unified by the things we have in common, the fact that we all want respect and love,” Ortiz said. “And I would argue that there is nothing more powerful than giving someone the respect and love they deserve.”

The rally was followed by a march around Marshall Street that led back to Hendricks Chapel for the speak out. Students were provided with posters and chanted as they walked through the streets.

The speak out allowed for students to share personal stories and experiences. It was closed to the media.

This year’s Take Back the Night included a social media hashtag #IWillTBTN to encourage students to also take a stand and pledge to work towards ending interpersonal violence. Organizations including Hendricks Chapel and the Office of Multicultural Affairs posted photos with the hashtag.

To learn more information about Take Back the Night check out their website or how you can also take a stand, contact the Office of Health Promotions.

Some of the resources on campus for sexual and relationship violence support include:

Confidential Resources

On campus

Sexual and Relationship Violence Response (SRVR) Team (24-hour support) 315-443-4715

Health Services 315-443-9005

Hendricks Chapel 315-443-2901


Off Campus

Carebridge, our faculty and staff assistance program 800-437-0911

Vera House (24 hour support) 315-468-3260


Additional Campus Resources (Non-Confidential)

Department of Public Safety 315-443-2224

Office of Student Assistance 315-443-4357

Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities 315-443-3728

Title IX Coordinator 315-443-4018

SU Take back the night
Rebecca Ortiz, the keynote speaker, in Hendricks Chapel.