Students reclaim power at Take Back the Night 2021

Written By: Grace Carlo, Staff Writer
Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of sexual violence.

As a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, members of the Xavier community came together for last Friday’s Take Back the Night (TBtN) to stand up against sexual violence. 

The first TBtN event happened in San Francisco in 1978. It has since become an international event and non-profit organization with the mission of stopping sexual violence. 

Last Friday, Xavier conducted their own march, organized by the 2021 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Planning Committee. This was the first Xavier TBtN to happen in three years. 

Co-hosted by EmpowerXU, It’s On X, BRAVE and the Peer Support Volunteers, TBtN began with an activities section with stations for a community art project, snow-globe making, signing the It’s On X pledge and writing letters to the administration. All attendees also received a free It’s On X shirt. 

After these activities, students marched around campus and held a speak-out session. 

President of EmpowerXU Manasa Pradhan explained that this part of the day was for “any survivors to share any part of their stories or community members to share how they are impacted by this issue or by being a part of this event.” 

“Sexual and power-based violence prevention work is super important because it affects all of us. The culture that we create sets the tone for how we respond to survivors, hold perpetrators accountable and engage as bystanders” Pradhan said. “We all have a responsibility to create a culture based on consent and respect, and therefore it’s on organizations like us to empower the community to take ownership of this issue and actively engage with it.” 

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men, and 1 in 2 trans and non-binary individuals are survivors of powr-based violence. The rate is even higher for marginalized groups. 

“We simply can’t continue to support a culture that allows this to happen time and time again. Therefore, it’s important for us to show that Xavier is not immune to this culture and that we do care about bringing about change” Pradhan added.

For more information about power- and gender-based violence prevention events and programs during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, follow @Its_On_X, @xavier_brave, @_empowerxu_ and @peersupportxu on Instagram. 

Photo courtesy of @avier_bravee on Instagram