The night, taken back: organizations raise awareness

Story by Meredith Adcock, Student Reporter Photos by Markayla Wyatt, Star Editor in Chief

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On Sept. 26, the Student Government Association (SGA) held the first annual Take Back the Night, an event to raise awareness of sexual assault on campus, and to stand with the victims whether they came forward or not. 

Take Back the Night is an international association whose goals are to end sexual, relationship, and domestic violence in all forms, and with all genders. The association began to have rallies in October 1975, after a microbiologist, Susan Alexander Speeth was stabbed to death while walking home alone. However, the first organized Take Back the Night annual conference was held at Columbia University in 2009. 

The event began with all participants taking a candle and marching around the perimeter of campus in solidarity, with SGA members leading the group. After returning the candles, all of the participants gathered at the steps of Arkansas hall together, as the president and vice president of SGA spoke to the crowd. 

The speakers encouraged all to participate in Title 9 training, while emphasizing that Title 9 training is a simulation, and that there is no shame in calling Title 9 even if you are a bystander. 

Since Take Back the Night was a campus event, many of the participants of fraternities and sororities were required to attend. During the march, many of them exclaimed their disdain in participating, often saying “they had much better things to do.” 

The last speaker, a member of SGA encouraged all of those who participated to think of this event not as a requirement, but as a stand against non-consensual sex. She told them to realize that, yes, it may not happen to you or someone you love, but statistically, it will happen to someone. We must stand together to stop sexual assault, but it will take all of us working together to do it.