SMC, ND to host “Take Back the Night”
Nicole Caratas | Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) at Saint Mary’s and the Gender Relations Center (GRC) at Notre Dame will hold the annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) event tonight as part of an international movement to raise awareness of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking and to provide a space for survivors’ voices.
Director of BAVO Connie Adams said the event will kickoff at Lake Marian at 5:30 pm and participants will then walk to Notre Dame. There will be a prayer vigil at the Grotto, followed by a march around Notre Dame’s campus.
Adams said the night will end with a speak out, which is “an opportunity for anyone impacted by sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking to share their story.”
“Take Back the Night is a unique event as it promotes healing, activism and awareness within one evening,” Adams said. “For individuals who have been impacted, it provides a space to see that a community visibly supports them. For individuals who don’t believe they know survivors, it provides a space to recognize the impact of these issues on our community. For those who are seeking an opportunity to speak out and demonstrate their beliefs, it provides a space for activism within our campus community.”
Junior Ashley Watkins, a member of the BAVO student advisory committee, said it is important for students to partake in TBTN because it fosters a relationship of support between the different campus communities.
“It is a chance for students from all three campuses to come together and express support for one another as well as raise awareness about issues regarding sexual violence,” Watkins said. “Take Back the Night is an event where students have the ability to demand change from the institutions.”
Adams said the event is a collaborative event with Notre Dame, involving students and staff from both campuses in the planning process and the event itself.
“The issues of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking impact our campus communities,” Adams said. “While there is certainly a place for education and engagement on our respective campuses, it is also important to have opportunities to unite in our Holy Cross missions.”
“Although Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame are separate, there is a lot of crossover between the institutions,” Watkins said. “When talking about sexual violence within these two campuses, it is hard not to talk about the student body’s relationships with each other.”
TBTN is not unique to the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame communities. It is an international movement, though it is tailored to fit the needs of individual campuses, according to Adams.
“The work we do to prevent, reduce and address violence on our campuses is part of a larger, international movement,” Adams said. “The problem, as a well as the solution, is broader than our local community. What we do here matters. It has an impact, but we must recognize the work being done in other areas throughout the world, as well as, in decades past.
“After all, a movement is nothing more, nothing less, than collective action. We are part of a movement.”