Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night is an annual event to take back the night from sexual and domestic violence. Everyone, of all gender identities, is encouraged to participate in this event that focus on survivor experiences.
Take Back the Night is an international movement. Over the years, OHIO's Take Back the Night event has included segments such as a march through the town of Athens, inspirational speakers, artistic pieces and performances, healing ceremonies, and online awareness campaigns.
Save the Date
Honoring the Diversity of Survivors
Ways to Participate
As the event approaches, more ways to participate and concrete details will be available
Recognize Diversity, Intersectionality, and Inclusion
We ask that anyone participating in Take Back the Night commit to on-going education and improvement as an ally to survivors. Take Back the Night is not just about this day, this event, or this moment. It is about creating a world that supports survivors always.
The organizers of Take Back the Night in Athens, OH are committed to diversity and inclusion. Take some time to consider how intersections of oppression and power have caused interpersonal violence to be perpetrated disproportionately against communities who are most marginalized.
We are committed to uplifting the voices of survivors. We also recognize that due to discrimination and safety concerns, there are many survivors that we may not hear from. We hold space to acknowledge those who are silenced and those who are no longer with us.
Rally and March
The Take Back the Night rally features speakers who will share, empower, and inspire to kick off the evening. Afterwards, participants will march through the streets of Athens, chanting and holding signs in support of survivors.
Become a Speaker
To share your story at this event, email Kim Rouse, Director of Survivor Advocacy Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send a few sentences on what you would like to speak about regarding your unique survivor experience. Indicate in your email the best way to contact you back.
Art and Performance
We have an annual call for thematic artwork to display or perform at the event.
Social Media Posts
We encourage folk to participate by sharing their commitment to supporting survivors on social media.
Please be considerate of intersectionality, diversity, and inclusion. Please post from your perspective, and do not disclose other people’s experiences without their permission.
Our hashtags can help you frame your posts. Use them as a guide for content.
- #SurvivorsUniteTBTN: We encourage all posts to use the main this main hashtag. #SurvivorsUniteTBTN creates space to acknowledge that there is strength in visibility.
To represent our campus and community effort, please tag @ohiou and @CityofAthensOH in your posts.
Participate Anonymously on Social Media
If you're not ready or able to participate in other ways, we would love for you to provide supportive messages that we can share anonymously with survivors through the Ohio University Women’s Center Twitter account (@OHIOWomenCenter) during the event.
Cord Cutting Ceremony
We will lead an annual cord cutting ceremony, which is a meditative ceremony that can help sever cords binding you to emotional turmoil.
Start By Believing Pledge and Documentary
Take the Start by Believing pledge online and post a selfie with it.
Watch the OHIO documentary Start By Believing: The Power of a Survivor-Centered Process Documentary. Learn about a survivor's experience here in Athens and encourage others to watch as well.
The decorating contest is an opportunity for local business, community members, Ohio University offices, and students to create visible statements of support for survivors of interpersonal violence. Participants can decorate doors, windows, houses, or storefronts.
Decorations should follow Athens City guidelines regarding banners and signage.
- Use teal and purple color schemes to match official survivor support colors
- Think about different formats like yard signs, window displays, chalk on driveways or sidewalks (following University guidelines to not chalk on brick or other fixtures), QR codes or links to survivor resources or this web page, a display of t-shirts and signs from previous marches and rallies, or a bulletin board design
- Share inspirational messages, statistics, or visual representations
- “Start by Believing”
- “Survivors deserve to be believed here”
- “It’s not your fault”
- “You’re not alone”
- Explain what rape culture is and how to address it
- Explain why believing survivors is a great start
- Promote the steps to bystander intervention
- Express commitments to recognizing and preventing violence on campus
- Acknowledge how communities that experience racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and other forms of oppression, are disproportionality impacted by interpersonal violence
- Review ready-to-print materials from the national Start By Believing movement
- Check out Survivor Advocacy Program ready-to-print awareness materials for bulletin boards
We want to amplify the voices of survivors, and we also want to protect them. Before sharing your story, we encourage you to speak with an advocate who can help you consider:
Sharing publicly for the first time
Sharing, especially on social media, may be a quick decision in the moment that can have a lasting impact. While sharing can be freeing for some, that is not a guarantee. You may not have the support in place to navigate your emotional response. Even if you have shared before, sharing on social media can feel more permanent and public than sharing in other formats.
The risks of sharing online
Sharing online has risks, including (but not limited to) online bullying, permanence by way of screenshots/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. You may report bullying or trolling behavior on many social media platforms. 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 and lawsuits for naming a perpetrator
We don't recommend using a perpetrator's name unless the person has been convicted in a court of law. Free speech is protected, but with limitations. Sharing the name of people involved may result in legal ramifications, including litigation or defamation suits. Even when stories are anonymized, sharing information about location, date, etc., can be used to guess about parties involved.
You may wish to discuss with a legal advisor prior to making a decision about identifying others.
Making an official report
While participation in this event won't require you to make an official report, whatever you share during this event may become part of a pending or future investigation should you choose to report sexual misconduct to Ohio University or law enforcement.
Mandatory Reporting Exemption
Typically, most Ohio University employees who observe or learn of potential campus sexual misconduct legally must immediately report the alleged conduct to the Office for University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (ECRC).
Take Back the Night, however, has received an exemption from mandated reporting in order to allow for full participation by all members of the campus community. Disclosures of incidents of sexual misconduct at this specified event 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.
The Survivor Advocacy Program is always a confidential resource and exempt from mandatory reporting through the university.
You may still choose to report sexual misconduct to Ohio University or law enforcement at any time.
Take Back the Night is funded by Ohio University’s Student Senate and 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.