According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than one woman in America is raped every single minute of every day. Because of this, West Chester University Women’s Center has decided to Take Back the Night. Take Back the Night is an international rally and march that allows communities to speak out against violence, rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. The Women’s Center has been holding the annual event since 1988. Students, faculty and friends of WCU will meet to take back the night from our violence against women on April 21 at 7 p.m. Due to construction at Lawrence Hall, the likely location to meet will be on the patio of the basketball courtside at the University. While students speak, noisemakers and chant slips will be handed out to the crowd.
The group will then proceed to walk through the West Chester Borough’s dark streets and alleys: places that women are told not to walk at night. The march then leads back to campus, where a candlelight vigil will be held. Both women and men are encouraged to share stories. “When a person goes through a very traumatic experience, it is extremely hard for them to express what happened to them.
The end of the event serves as a safe place to openly talk about the experience. It is also a way to show others that violence is real and happens here in West Chester,” said Camitha Shivers, a student employee of The Women’s Center. If a person wants to talk, but decides not to share their experience with the group, there will be professionals available from the Chester County Crime Victims Center and the Chester County Domestic Violence Center, as well as other counselors.
“It’s a very empowering experience,” says Tiffany Burton, a student majoring in professional studies. The event is aimed at cheering on the survival of people who have been through any of these things. Since chairs are not provided, the Women’s Center suggest that anyone attending may want to bring a blanket to sit on once the crowd returns for thevigil.
Another part of the event is the Clothesline Project, where t-shirts are designed to honor survivors as well as people who have died as a result of violence. The Clothesline Project will be taking place in Sykes Union from 10 to 4:30, April 20, and if, weather permitting, the shirts will be displayed on April 21 at the quad outside of Main Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Volunteers are needed to help hang and take down the shirts. Anyone interested in attending, assisting the Women’s Center, or with questions about Take Back the Night or The Clothesline Project, can contact them at (610) 436-2122.