The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Students unite to ‘Take Back the Night’

Lisa Gallagher | Friday, April 16, 2004

As part of April being sexual assault awareness month, students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross united Thursday in a campus-sponsored Take Back the Night march and rally. Take Back the Night is an international event organized in local communities with the purpose of unifying women, men and children in a greater awareness of the violence that occurs against women, children and families. Students and community members who participate in or support this occasion are ready to take a stand against violence and make the night safe for everyone. Recent statistics point out that one in four women will be sexually assaulted during her college years.Groups such as Feminist Collective, Saint Mary’s Campus Alliance for Rape Elimination (C.A.R.E.), Notre Dame’s C.A.R.E. team and the Sex Offense Services (SOS) of South Bend, helped make the rally possible. Holy Cross College also helped sponsor the event, and this year marks the first that all three campuses joined together for this cause. Student body presidents from all three schools were in attendance. Saint Mary’s student body vice president Sarah Catherine White said the event is aimed at all campuses and said she hopes more people will participate in next year’s night. “The turnout for the event is inspiring in that we are trying to change not only as Saint Mary’s College, but as a tri-campus community,” White said. “I can only hope that this event will grow in the future.”The march began at Holy Cross College at 4:30 p.m., picking up Saint Mary’s women at 5:30 and meeting Notre Dame students at 6:30 at the Grotto. The march ended at 7:30 back at Saint Mary’s for a rally held at Dalloway’s. Food and T-shirts were provided for all the supporters. Jackie Zins, president of C.A.R.E. at Saint Mary’s, oversaw the events with planning starting during the first semester. Meetings were held each week between the women of Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross, as well as one male from Holy Cross College. Zins said the hardest part about her job was keeping in touch with each person involved and getting the necessary approval from Notre Dame for such necessities as T-shirts and advertising. Zins said she initially expected only about 30 Saint Mary’s students to attend the rally; however, the turnout was much greater. “There were about 115 students from all three campuses, with Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s having a much larger turnout than expected,” Zins said. “The event helps to raise awareness about sexual assault. With the tri-campus involvement, more awareness can be raised than if each campus participated in the event individually.” Both Zins and White said Take Back the Night creates a supportive atmosphere and helps educate the community.