Ohio University

Take Back the Night

outline of OU skyline with street light illuminating. 'Take back the night' above the skyline.

*In-Person CANCELLED due to coronavirus (COVID-19).* But you can still join us for a virtual walk!

Thursday, April 2, 2020, 6PM-9PM EST on Twitter, follow @ouwomenscenter and read our Guidance for Participation below for more information. 

We encourage all posts to use the hashtag SurvivorsUniteTBTN. Additional hashtags that may also help communicate your message may include: #SupportSurvivorsBy #StartByBelieving #IWillWalkWithYou. This march has long been a time for campus and community to come together to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and harassment. To represent our campus and community effort, please tag @ohiou and @CityofAthensOH and use #SurvivorsUniteTBTN in your posts. Prior to participating in the virtual Take Back the Night event, we ask that you read our FAQ and guidance for participation below

Take Back the Night has received an exemption from mandated reporting in order to allow for full-campus participation by all members of the campus community. Disclosures of incidents of sexual misconduct at this specified event (6PM-9PM EST) will not be considered notice to Ohio University. Disclosures prior to the start and after the end time of the event are not exempt from mandatory reporting. Please visit Survivor Advocacy Program’s website for reporting options and resources: https://www.ohio.edu/survivor. If you would like to report something that has happened to you or someone else, we encourage you to view your reporting options at https://www.ohio.edu/survivor/options/reporting.

Take Back the Night is funded by Ohio University’s Student Senate and the Women’s Center. It is co-sponsored by My Sister’s Place and Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, as well as the following Ohio University offices: the Survivor Advocacy Program, Health Promotion, Counseling and Psychological Services, Graduate Student Senate, and Housing and Residence Life.

Take Back the Night is an annual event to take back the night from sexual and domestic violence. Everyone, regardless of gender identity, is encouraged to participate in this event that focus on survivor experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Guidance to Participate

What should I be posting?  | Can I share my story? | What are the risks in participating? | Who can I talk to now?

What should I be posting? 

As part of the virtual Take Back the Night, we encourage folk to participate by sharing their commitment to supporting survivors. We encourage posts to be from your perspective, and not to disclose other people’s experiences without their permission. Even when posts are anonymized, sharing information about location, date, etc., can be used to guess about parties involved.  

We created hashtags to help you frame your posts and encourage you to follow the hashtags as a guide. 

#SupportSurvivorsBy: share how you support survivors by intervening when you witness rape culture, provide information about resources that have been helpful (shout out to @ousap for the Survivor Advocacy Program at Ohio University or @SAOPseoh for the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program in the community), or explain how you make a conscious effort to educate yourself. 

#StartByBelieving: share how you support survivors by responding to disclosures with empathy. Take the StartByBelieving pledge online and post a selfie with it (https://www.startbybelieving.org/pledge/). Encourage others to watch the #StartByBelieving documentary about a survivor’s experience here in Athens (https://www.ohio.edu/survivor/get-involved/start-believing). 

#IWillWalkWithYou: share words of encouragement that can help us combat rape culture. Post messages like “To Survivors, it’s not your fault” or photos of you wearing your “I Will Walk With You” t-shirts from past marches. If you are a past “I Will Walk With You” ally, you can write about your experience serving in that role – without disclosing anything what was shared with you. For example, when we asked past t-shirt wearers about their favorite part of the march, one responded with: “Everyone coming together as a sign of how many people support others.” We encourage you to share that – visible support of survivors helps us come together and know how many support us! 

#SurvivorsUniteTBTN: at its core, Take Back the Night is an event that is survivor-centered. #SurvivorsUniteTBTN creates space to acknowledge that there is strength in visibility. We invite you to share your favorite or most impactful moment from past TBTN events or post message of strength and hope, e.g. “Survivors United Will Never Be Defeated.” If sharing from personal experience of survivorhood, we ask that you read the FAQ on “Can I share my story?”  

Can I share my story of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, harassment, or stalking? 

Before You Share: Before sharing your story, we encourage you to speak with an advocate who can help you consider: 

  • If this is the first time that you have shared publicly: Sharing on social media may be a quick, in the moment decision that can have a lasting emotional impact. While it can be freeing to share in this format for some, that is not a guarantee. You may not have the support in place to navigate your emotional response. We will work with you to consider possible emotional responses to sharing publicly. Even if you have shared before, sharing on social media can feel more permanent and public than sharing in other formats.  
  • Not using the perpetrator’s name (unless the person has been convicted in a court of law). Read more below on defamation/lawsuits. 

  • Whatever you share may become part of a pending or future investigation should you choose to report. For information on how to report, please visit: https://www.ohio.edu/survivor/options/reporting 

  • Risks of Sharing: Sharing online has risks, including (but not limited to) online bullying, permanence by way of screenshots and retweeting (which can make public your story in ways that you may not wish and cannot control), and emotional responses that you may not predict. While you can report bullying or trolling behavior through Twitter, there are reports that Twitter does not act quickly enough to respond to these issues. As such, please consider that we have events like Take Back the Night because in many ways we still exist within a culture that legitimizes sexual violence. Therefore, responses to our event may not always be positive and we may face backlash. 

  • Defamation/Lawsuits: Free speech is a protected 1st Amendment right, but it does have limitations. Sharing the name of people involved may result in legal ramifications, including litigation/defamation suits.  You may wish to discuss these potential ramifications with a legal advisor prior to making a decision about identifying others.   

  • If you are interested in sharing your story at survivor-centered events, please email Kim Castor, Director of Survivor Advocacy Program (SAP), at castor@ohio.edu with a few sentences on what you would like to speak about regarding your unique survivor experience. SAP is a confidential resource and exempt from mandatory reporting through the university. In order to guard your privacy, please indicate in your email to Kim the best way to contact you. There are ample opportunities to participate in other events, and we can help you prepare for those in advance. We want you to feel empowered to share your story in the format that is best for you. 

What are the risks of participating on social media?  

  • Sharing online has risks, including (but not limited to) online bullying, permanence by way of screenshots and retweeting (which can make public your story in ways that you may not wish and cannot control), and emotional responses that you may not predict. While you can report bullying or trolling behavior through Twitter, there are reports that Twitter does not act quickly enough to respond to these issues. As such, please consider that we have events like Take Back the Night because in many ways we still exist within a culture that legitimizes sexual violence. Therefore, responses to our event may not always be positive and we may face backlash. 

I want to talk with someone. Who can I talk to now? 

  • If you want to explore disclosing that you are a survivor during the virtual Take Back the Night, and you are an OHIO student, you can call the Survivor Advocacy Program’s hotline at: 740.597.SAFE (7233). If you receive a busy signal when you call, please hang up and try again. To reach out to someone during normal business hours, please contact a confidential advocate by emailing survivor.advocacy@ohio.edu or calling 740.597.SAFE (7233). 

  • If you are a student seeking Counseling and Psychological Services, please call 740.593.1616. 

  • If you are an OHIO employee seeking support, you may reach out to the Employee Assistance Program 24/7 Confidential phone service 1-800-227-6007. 

  • If you are an OHIO employee or community member looking for an advocate, please call the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program’s hotline at 740-591-4266. 

  • If you are seeking support from My Sister’s Place – either to talk about coming to shelter, schedule an outreach or court advocacy appointment, or just discuss what is happening at home - please call our hotline at 1-800-443-3402. 

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Take Back the Night marchers in Athens (2018).