Take Back The Night is an event that has a long history of fighting against sexual violence. The original Take Back The Night in the 1970s was done as a march held to raise awareness for violence against women. The purpose in Take Back The Night is to protest against violence and fear. Marches are done on college campuses across the country every year to continue to fight for this very important cause. For the past few years The Center for Gender Equity and Social Justice has valued this tradition by gathering with students and community members for a march and an event to show tribute to survivors of sexual violence and educate others about sexual violence.
This is an issue that should be discussed on college campuses because statistically 11.2% of all students will experience some type of sexual violence during their time as a college student. For more information about how sexual violence impacts college students please visit https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence .
With The Center for Gender Equity and Social Justice being on hiatus this semester, Student Life decided to prioritize this important event by creating a Take Back The Night of their own. Instead of the traditional march, Student Life facilitated a conversation on sexual violence on campus. Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services led the beginning of the conversation with education about the services offered and what they can provide for students if they have experienced an assault. Next our university counselor Sarah Guck led a discussion on how we define sexual assault and how we all might in some way be contributing to the rape culture. Students discussed important concepts such as slut shaming and the ways in which a survivor of sexual assault can be blamed for their experiences and how sexual violence is absolutely never the victim’s fault.
The event concluded with the burning in the campfire the ways in which we contribute to the rape culture that we all wrote down on pieces of paper. Overall the event was helpful because students were able to ask questions about how they can help to fight the rape culture on campus, the definition of consent, and what resources are available to them if they are to experience sexual violence. The students that were at the event seem to have benefited from the conversation about sexual violence and consent. Many universities offer a required course for all students that educates students on sexual violence on campus and the definition of consent. Universities have been greatly improved when more information on sexual violence was taught to all students as well as faculty and staff.
Western New Mexico University offers reporting and support services for sexual violence as well as emergency care. Students can call campus police and report harassment or assault online at https://reportit.wnmu.edu/ or in the Title IX office. Students can also receive counseling from our WNMU therapist in our Student Health Services office in the Juan Chacon building on the first floor. If a student wishes to receive medical or mental health services outside of WNMU, our community resources include Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services, which can be reached at 1-866-750-6474 and La Pinon Sexual Assault Support Services, which can be reached at (575)526-3437. For more information regarding our university’s support services and reporting process, please visit our Title IX office.