Take Back The Night

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Take Back The Night


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On April 26, the UIS Women’s Center will once again host an annual march to Take Back the Night and stand in solidarity against sexual violence. According to Rexann Whorton, director of the Women’s Center, “the night symbolizes the idea that anyone should feel safe, no matter the time of day. It isn’t to prorogate the idea that sexual assault only happens at night but to recognize that occurrence of rape in our communities.”

To honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Women’s Center will host various events in the community to bring awareness and educate the campus about sexual violence. This Friday, the softball team will be wearing teal ribbons during the game to support sexual assault survivors. The Women’s Center has also invited Dr. Candice Norcott, a licensed clinical psychologist at the University of Chicago, who will shed light on the intersection of race and gender in higher education and the trauma that can accompany those experiences as well as sexual violence.

On Thursday, April 25, students will be able to make posters and signs at the Student Leadership Center from 1 to 4 p.m. This event will provide students with free materials and space to create signs with which they wish to march. On that same night, the Women’s Center will also showcase the movie The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual violence on college campuses.

In 1992, a young Italian woman went to court to confront the driving instructor who had raped her. At the time, the court gave the offender a light sentence under the claim that the defendant’s clothing was too tight. The court argued that jeans could not be takeoff without assistance; therefore, if they were removed it was consensual. This argument was later officiated as the “jean alibi.” The next day, the women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work to support the plaintiff and fight back against the court’s verdict. The importance of this case in Italy became recognized worldwide, and later became known as Denim Day. Every year, in order to support and fight against victim blaming people are encouraged to wear jeans (denindayinfo.org). During the events on April 25, the center will also provide denim ribbons at the Student Union to support Denim Day.

The purpose of the month is to empower and support survivors of sexual assault. According to Ivy Jimenez, a student worker at the Women’s Center, it is also a chance for the community “to support the idea of ending sexual assault.”

This month is essential in providing community support and care for others who may feel isolated and ignored. It gives a voice to anyone ready and willing to stand against sexual assault.

Whorton encourages student and faculty to join in these events and participate during Take Back the Night. Beginning from the colonnade, students will walk the campus a lead to a rally at Lincoln Residence Hall. There will be spoken word poetry and some people will share their testimonies. Autumn Sanderson, Miss Southern Illinois 2019, will also share a few words about her community action project to fight against sexual violence.

The Women’s Center would also like to acknowledge their t-shirt designer, Hayden Schumer, as well as all their sponsors for this month. They encourage everyone to participate in Take Back the Night and all the events leading up to it.