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The Sigma Kappa sorority house displays a banner honoring Take Back the Night on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

OU to host annual ‘Take Back the Night’ event

Ohio University will be holding its annual Take Back the Night event this Thursday at Athens First United Methodist Church, 2 S. College St. Beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at about 9:15 p.m., there will be a variety of activities occurring, including keynote speakers, a march around Athens and artistic productions.

Take Back the Night is an international movement that focuses on survivor advocacy with the goal of combating both sexual and domestic violence. The issues of violence against women began gaining traction in the 1970s in places such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, as stigma surrounding the topic decreased. Although the event started with combating violence against women, it has shifted to recognize survivors regardless of gender and background.

OU’s version of the event will be in a hybrid format but will mainly be happening in-person. The night will start with a resource fair, online and offline speakers as well as social media engagement, all before the march begins at 8:05 p.m. A cord-cutting ceremony will proceed the march at about 9 p.m.

One group that has been working heavily with the event is OU’s Survivor Advocacy Program. SAP is a confidential resource on campus that students can go to without fear of their information being reported. The program also helps those who come to them with assistance in things such as medical, legal and institutional advocacy.

Kaitlyn Urbaniak, a graduate assistant at SAP, said Take Back the Night is important for students to know that they have help when processing traumatic events.

“Coming to college is already difficult when you have the stress of figuring out a major and everything like that, so when you add a trauma on top of that, it can be really difficult,” Urbaniak said. “So, just making sure that they know that they have that support. Whether that’s through resources like (SAP) on campus or just support from the Bobcat community in general, fellow students, fellow teachers, things like that.”

Eli Burns, a freshman studying games and animation, said he saw signs for Take Back the Night but didn’t originally know what it was before he looked more into the event.

“I think it’s really important,” Burns said. “I know that this year, there were problems with sexual assault, and I think it’s good that the school cares about bringing attention to it.”

Madeline Hammons, a junior studying theater production design and technology, said a club that she’s in had plans of going to Take Back the Night.

“I think it’s a wonderful and entirely necessary event,” Hammons said. “I am the vice president of a student organization that also participates in advocacy and activism, called F-Word, and we are planning on attending.”

For Urbaniak, she personally believes the event is a way for her to help highlight others and help make an impact.

“It’s a time for me to continue showing my support to survivors,” Urbaniak said. “Letting them know that I stand with them, I believe them and actively working to fight the injustices that they often face.”

Urbaniak also thinks Take Back the Night helps both OU and the Athens community recognize the resources available to them and shows that interpersonal violence isn’t just a campus issue, but can happen anywhere.

“It’s a chance for other students to get involved and educate themselves on interpersonal violence, create change with the campus culture towards interpersonal violence and show their support in different ways to the survivors,” Urbaniak said.

@mimi_calhoun

mc300120@ohio.edu

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