Take Back the Night
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Politics and Activism

Take Back the Night

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The 25th annual Take Back the Night rally, sponsored by Womanspace, was held March 27 in Squires Student Center.The program and rally were created to protest sexual violence, incorporating live music, speakers and personal stories of violence. The opening performance was made up of two women who sang empowering songs to start the program off in a positive light.

A few speakers spoke to the crowd, including the New River Valley Women’s Resource Center executive director, Pat Brown. She spoke about what the resource center does to help women and children in need.  If someone calls the resource center, the first thing that they are asked is if they are safe.  The resource center also has volunteers that make the 24/7-phone service available. Representatives will also meet rape victims at the hospital to see if they need additional help and protection.

The rally concluded with personal stories by survivors of sexual assault.  The speakers did not go into detail about the initial assault because they didn't want to cause a trigger for an audience member.  The survivors talked about what they did during their healing process and spoke about society’s impact on rape culture. 

Blacksburg Town Council member Susan Anderson spoke about the Clothesline Project, which has been incorporated into Take Back the Night.  The Clothesline Project is promoted in effort to raise awareness about violence against women.  A survivor of violence can make a t-shirt which tells of their experience.  Different colored t-shirts represent different acts of violence that range from physical abuse at home to rape.  Over 500 t-shirts have been made in the New River valley area since the movement started.

The program took place at night to symbolize the reclaiming of the night for all people.  During the rally, candles were held and marchers wore a purple ribbon for a friend or family member that has been sexually assaulted.

Chants such as, “women unite, take back the night,” and, “men join the fight, help take back the night,” were chanted throughout the Virginia Tech campus and downtown Blacksburg. Both men and women who participated helped spread awareness and let survivors feel empowered for being able to take back the night. 

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