Take Back the Night is an annual event hosted on most college campuses every April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, in which students, faculty and staff share and listen to stories from sexual violence survivors. The event this year for the University was held on Wednesday, April 29 via Zoom. More than 170 people joined this Zoom session, even more than the physical attendance at the event in previous years.
The event was held by peer advocates from Bryn Mawr College, Thomas Jefferson University, Drexel University, Haverford College, St. Joseph's University, University of Pennsylvania, Ursinus College and of course, the University. The online nature of the session this year made it so that students not just from the greater Philadelphia area, but from across the country at institutions like George Washington University and Widener University, could participate. Members of the Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence and other sexual assault advocacy organizations were also present.
In the days preceding the event, community members submitted stories to be read either by themselves or by others. At the event, readers shared powerful stories and poems recounting emotional struggles with sexual assault.
Additionally, the video, “I Am With You,” by Chanel Miller, regarding her experiences as an assault victim in the Brock Turner court case was played, and works by poets, like Maya Angelou, were shared. The session ended with the organizers providing support resources.
Take Back the Night coincided with Denim Day this year, a day in which people are encourgaed to wear denim to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault. Denim Day started as a campaign after a rape conviction by the Italian Supreme Court was overturned becuase the victim was wearing tight jeans, therefore, somehow, implying consent. The next day, women in the Italian parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.
Alpha Chi Omega, a sorority on campus, raises awareness about domestic violence each year. On Wednesday, April 29, members of the chapter celebrated Denim Day, using their platform to raise awareness of sexual assault and those who have been affected by it.
If you have ever been a victim of sexual assault, know that you are not alone. Here are some hotlines you can refer to:
WOAR (Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence) 24 Hour Hotline: 215-985-3333
Victim Services of Montgomery County 24 Hour Hotline: 1-888-5210983
At the Univeristy, you can refer to the Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator (SARC) team: 484-343-6028
University Counseling Center: 1-800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK)