This Wednesday, April 16 in Sykes student union the West Chester University Women’s Center will be holding its annual Take Back the Night rally. According to the official website, Take Back the Night has multiple claims for the first event but the purpose is undisputed. The organization and its supporters fight for women’s safety. The rally happens after dark and hundreds of women across the world bond together to feel safe in the darkness together.
Most women agree that they don’t feel safe at night because it is when they feel that they are most likely to be attacked. The purpose of Take Back the Night is to recognize the survivors of rape, violence and abuse, and for those survivors to see that they are not alone and they have many people who support them in their forward battle.
A scary fact is that while one in six women will be sexually assaulted in her life, the number is four times higher for college women. What is even worse that that is that only 30 percent of these attacks ever get reported, leaving the attacker out and allowed to do it again. Only six percent of rapists ever spend a single day in jail. In 2005 there was one rape every eight minutes. There was one sexual assault attack every two minutes.
Here at West Chester every incoming freshman attends numerous events and hears many speakers before their first semester even starts. Many of these events center around safety on campus, safety for women and avoiding sexual assault. The most commonly offered bit of advice is, “ladies, don’t walk around at night”.
Katie Conrath, a first year student, remembers being told, “Don’t walk around at night and definitely don’t do it alone.” But what about forgetting “just don’t do it” and trying to make it safe to be out?
That exactly is what Take Back the Night is trying to accomplish. At 7:00 p.m. everyone is welcomed to meet up at Sykes Student Union. The group will then proceed into town to rally and make as much noise as possible. All of these survivors and supporters will literally be taking back the night for themselves.
The Take Back the Night organization emphasizes the importance of speaking out. The official website, www.takebackthenight.org quotes Henry David Thoreau; “It takes two people to speak the truth: One to speak and another to hear”. In saying that, Take Back the Night asks anyone who hasn’t been involved with sexual assault to be there for someone who has; with no one to speak to, no stories ever get told.
The Women’s Center asks everyone who is available Wednesday night to please join in the rally, and thanks everyone who is already planning to attend or help out.
Jenn Rothstein is a first-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at email@example.com