Editor’s note: The following column was written by a Peer Advocates for Change member who attended the most recent Take Back the Night event.
It was a cloudy Tuesday night – a night that is typically quiet on the campus of Castleton University. Yet the Campus Center was filled with voices of survivors, supporters and members of our community.
Some held candles or banners while we all prepared for the event to begin.
We had gathered on this night to come together for one reason: Survivors and supporters had come together to create a safe space for victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, dating violence and child abuse.
We set out on a walk around campus to honor the many victims who have been affected by these crimes.
After starting the rally, I turned my head to look back on the rest of the group and was amazed.
So many members from our university had joined together to show their support and bring awareness to the rest of our community. I had been to the rally the year before, but when I watched the crowd gather together to take a photo on the steps of Woodruff, I got the sense that the number of supporters had grown.
Once the rally was over, a handful of people gathered in the 1787 Room for the Speak Out. The Speak Out gives survivors the opportunity to share their personal stories with other survivors and supporters.
This can be a very emotional part of the night for both the people sharing and those who are there to show their support. It is never easy to hear someone speak about their assault, especially when they are members of your own community; but being there to show your support is so important.
We created a safe space where multiple brave people stood up to share their stories.
This was my second year attending the Take Back the Night Rally and Speak out and it was even more powerful the second time. I hope that more people understand the importance and impact of this event and decide to attend next year.
It is important for us to come together as a community to show our support to the many victims on our campus and around our community.