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Brockport bands together to "Take Back the Night"

by Margaret Stewart - copy editor
Wed, Oct 31st 2018 06:00 pm
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On the night of Wednesday, Oct. 24 the streets of the Village of Brockport and the campus at The College at Brockport had sirens light up the night sky, voices echoing off of nearby buildings as students, faculty and community members participated in the “Take Back the Night” march. 

“Take Back the Night” was created to combat sexual violence against women. As the first international march of its kind, the march works to provide abuse survivors with the opportunity to feel empowered and “take back the night” that they were abused or assaulted.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.

According to their website, takebackthenight.org, the march began with Katie Koestner. “When our early event holders united in 2001, Koestner was the first woman in the United States to come forward nationally and publicly as the victim of campus ‘date’ rape,” the site states. The purpose of the event, as well as the foundation, is to open communication and allow for more information sharing, resources and support for both survivors and event holders. 

 A main component of this night are all of the tear-jerking anecdotes, oral histories and poems from those who are survivors themselves and have participated in marches around the world. Junior Adrianna Thrasher-Scutt opened the night asking, “Do y’all like stories?” She discussed multiple different instances of rape through three tear-jerking anecdotes.

 The following speaker was Jenna Cohen, a social worker and recent Brockport graduate. As part of her speech, Cohen read a poem dedicated to the survivors and addressing different individuals such as her past-self, her father, her attacker and the officers who processed her case. 

While she talked about how she was orally assulted by “a boy she met in math class” she says that though she had forgiven him, she had not forgiven the female officer who was sent to interrogate her after Cohen’s original report and implied that, since Cohen was a virgin at the time, she didn’t understand how oral sex works.

 According to NSVRC, “rape is the most under-reported crime.” It is estimated that 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police. Based upon the reaction, Cohen received, it is easy to see why. At the march on campus, two counselors and one restore nurse, a nurse trained specifically to help and support sexual assault victims was present.

 Closing out the speaking portion of the evening and calling the march into action was Emerson, a current student in the Women and Gender Studies Department here at the college. They discussed how they were assaulted twice, the second time, when they decided to report, they were not believed.

 Not only that, they lost all of their friends and was the reason why they decided to transfer to Brockport. Calling for the audience to “shatter the silence” and beginning the chant “we will fight until we are all free, until we are all equal,” Emerson’s speech was a perfect way to end the speeches and begin the march.

 The march wound its way through the outside of campus. Participants chanting slogans like, “consent Is sexy” made sure their voices were heard as they started to get in formation. Beginning at the campus mall, the march moved past Brockway and down residence drive, outside the dorms and down Holley St. The march made its way to the Village of Brockport, a their police escort in tow.

 In the last decade, 300 new events have been formed that resemble Take Back the Night. Now there are events such as “Bike for the Night,” “Yoga for Healing” and 5K “Glow Runs.” 

 

mstew7@brockport.edu | @margotpolo96