Dozens of students gathered in Boehlert Conference Center on Tuesday, April 9, for the Womyn’s Resource Center’s annual Take Back the Night march.
The event is part of an international movement against sexual, dating and domestic violence, which is held in more than 30 countries every year, according to the movement’s official website.
The Take Back the Night Foundation states that 1 in 3 women around the world “experience some form of sexual violence or intimate partner violence.” Women are not alone, as 1 in 6 men are also victims of sexual violence.
However, fewer than 50 percent of victims report these crimes.
Active Minds and Open Moments are other campus organizations that joined the Womyn’s Resource Center (WRC) in the organization of the annual Take Back the Night march.
The event also included the participation of students and other community members who shared poems and their perspectives about a topic that directly impacts Utica College.
“We have rape and domestic violence victims on this campus, so we need to stop making it a taboo topic and start to talk about it,” said senior Kendal Santiago, a programming intern for WRC.
The Take Back the Night event highlighted ways in which students can be active bystanders and ended with a walk around the campus to communicate their solidarity with survivors by showing signs that read “No more violence” and “We have the power. We have the right.”
The attendees were provided with paint and brushes to create artwork in support of victims.
Santiago said she wishes that topics of sexual and domestic violence were addressed in the classroom “to make it less of a taboo topic so that people would feel more comfortable talking about it.”
Rebecca Joseph, a sophomore and another one of the organizers of WRC’s Take Back the Night, also highlighted the amount of students that have been victims of sexual and domestic violence at UC and on campuses in the U.S., who “often don’t speak up [about it].”
“We just wanted to be advocates on our campus specifically and taking a stand to say no to sexual, dating and domestic violence,” Joseph said. “We are the ones that are able to bring awareness to [individuals] and to victims who may not have the voice to speak up.”
Freshman Corinne Murphy, who is very interested in women’s rights and even attended the Women’s March in Washington D.C., was part of the Take Back the Night event on Tuesday. She said she really likes the “sense of community at these sort of events.”
“It’s a way to promote advocacy for the women and men who have been through this in order to say that it is common in our college campuses and cities and that it needs to stop,” Murphy said.
Murphy believes it is important to go to the “source of the problem” to educate those who are responsible for crimes of sexual and domestic violence on “why this is wrong and what they can do better.”
For those who may have experienced crimes of sexual, dating or domestic violence, Junior Veena Shureshkumar stated that “having events like Take Back the Night shows people that there are resources on campus available to students.”
“Even if things may not have happened to them, they can still refer to someone they may know who has gone through a similar experience, and who could utilize the resources that we have at UC,” she said.