Take Back the Night event to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence to be held in-person on April 7

Published: March 30, 2022 Author: Ellie Coldiron

Ohio University’s annual Take Back the Night event that supports survivors of sexual and domestic violence of all kinds will return in-person this year on April 7, starting at 6 p.m. 

Take Back the Night is an international movement that focuses on survivor experiences and creating a safe place to be a survivor. Events take place all over the world in support of survivors, and everyone, of all gender identities, is encouraged to participate.

“I remember coming to Take Back the Night in the 1980s when I was an undergraduate student at Ohio University,” KC Waltz, Survivor Advocacy case manager, said. “I was blown away by the passion and support the women marching had for one another. When I returned to campus as a staff person in 2016, I was amazed and deeply moved by how the event had grown to represent all survivors and allies, marching in solidarity, spreading a message of hope, healing, and defiance. This event is an impactful celebration of survivors taking their power back.”

OHIO’s Take Back the Night is funded by Ohio University’s Student Senate and the Women’s Center. This year, it is co-sponsored by My Sister’s Place and the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, as well as the following 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 very unique because it is about supporting survivors by creating space for healing and allowing people to share their story and make them feel supported by their community instead of focusing on the perpetrators of the problem itself,” Women’s Center’s Survivor-focused Programming Assistant Hailey Linenkugel said.

Through OHIO’s Take Back the Night, the Women’s Center wants to empower students to support everyone’s safety on campus, connect students to resources on campus and in the community that support gender equality and healthy relationships, and build empathy for survivors of sexual violence.

The event has been completely virtual for the last two years, however, this year, the event will be held in-person, with social media coverage offered. 

“If people can’t attend, or would rather just learn about it virtually, we’ll have posts going up on all of the respective organizations’ social medias about things speakers have said, pictures from the event, and the resources that we have there. Just making sure everyone can be involved, even if they can’t come be in person,” Megan Handle, member of the planning committee and the Women’s Affairs Commissioner for Student Senate, said. 

Take Back the Night will kickoff at the Athens First United Methodist Church at 6 p.m. with a performance from the OU Vibrations. There will be speakers, art pieces from survivors, and a resource fair as well. Following the kickoff, there will be the march and rally starting at 8:05 p.m., with a cord cutting ceremony taking place at 9 p.m. 

“What we, as the planning committee, are most excited about this year is that we’ll be in person after two years, and that there are students who are juniors on campus and have never seen a Take Back the Night happen in its full fruition,” Linenkugel added. “So I’m really excited to bring that back. I think in 2018 we had nearly 800 people attend our in-person event. So we’re hoping...we can bring those numbers back and bring tons of people to their first Tack Back the Night event.”

This year, Take Back the Night is once again sponsoring a door decorating contest for local business, community members, University offices, and students to create visible statements of support for survivors of interpersonal violence using teal and purple color schemes. There will be a winner on campus, and one from the Athens community. Individuals who choose not to enter the contest are still welcome and encouraged to decorate.   

“This event is really just a big show of support for everyone,” Handle said.  

Full information about how to participate in any of the 2022 Take Back the Night activities is available on the Women’s Center website