Take Back the Night

Samantha Higgins

Every 107 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the United States, totaling 293,000 victims of sexual assault a year. On April 12 the University of New Haven Victimology club held their annual Take Back the Night event to help survivors know they are not alone. This event is geared toward victims and survivors of sexual assault, as well as those who support them. It is held nationwide both on college campuses and in communities to bring awareness to sexual violence. The event is held with the intent to “stand up and show unity,” and began with statistics to show how serious sexual assault is. Statistics shared included that one in four college women and one in six college men will be the victim of sexual assault during their college years.
Melissa Jennings a Milford Rape Crisis Center representative who works with both students and staff at UNH also spoke about how far UNH has come since it began working with the center in 2006. She also let everyone in attendance know that UNH has a “zero tolerance policy for sexual assault.” Ashley Dunn the Title IX Clery Coordinator for UNH also spoke, she reiterated that “UNH takes this matter really seriously,” and advised every one of the confidential offices on campus, including Health Services, the Counseling Center, the Milford Rape Crisis Center Advocate, and the UNH Chaplin Marty O’ Connor. “We are approachable, we want students to know we want the best for students here,” Jennings said.
The night gave survivors an open floor to “take back the night” they were assaulted and share their story in a completely confidential and safe place where nothing would be reported. The room was filled with supportive friends and peers who were there to cheer each other on for overcoming the battles life has given them. Silences between speakers were not filled with laughter or speaking, but just waiting as everyone patiently waiting for another person to gather the courage to stand up and share their story. Tears were shed but no one was alone while they shared. The room was an overwhelming atmosphere of support.
The night concluded with a moment of silence as everyone shared why they were there, or who they were there for and took each other’s hands in support. The following day the Victimology Club held a Day of Healing with crafts to give people a chance to decompress and recover from the emotionally charged night.