On Wednesday, Oct. 21, students gathered on the steps of Olin Library for Take Back the Night, an event that allows survivors of sexual assault and rape to speak out about their experiences in order to increase awareness about sexual violence. The event was initially scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15, but was postponed due to rain.
“I think the event went really well,” wrote Monica Fuhrmann ’12, the main organizer of the event, in an e-mail to The Argus. “Unfortunately, due to the rescheduling, not as many people were able to attend the event on its new date, but there was still a significant amount of support and a lot of strong survivors had the courage to share their stories.”
The event began with campus a capella group Cardinal Sinners’ performance of the song ‘Another Train’ by Peter Morton. Students then marched across the campus chanting slogans such as “Many voices, breaking silence, demand an end to sexual violence.” Two speak-out circles were held for survivors who wanted to share their stories in the courtyard of the Center for the Arts (CFA) and on Foss Hill. A number of anonymous narrative submissions were also read aloud.
“Take Back The Night is extremely important for colleges,” Fuhrmann wrote. “This is because a significant amount of sexual assaults occur on college campuses.”
The extent to which such violence has affected the campus was brought home by personal stories of rape and violence that survivors shared. Upwards of twenty accounts were heard in the speak-out circles.
“The event definitely gave me a lot to think about,” said Ali Patrick ’13. “There are experiences in my own life that I thought of differently after hearing people’s stories.”
For some first-time attendees, the experience was startlingly.
“Hearing these direct, often brutally honest accounts is perhaps the biggest eye-opener I’ve had during my time at Wesleyan,” wrote Gabriel Urbina ’13, who attended the event, in an e-mail to The Argus. “It made me realize both the unspeakable horror that we humans subject each other to and the unimaginable resilience that makes us fight back against it.”
Fuhrmann hopes that the conversation about sexual violence will continue into the future.
“It is essential for college students to be aware of their sexual rights in order to help prevent sexual assaults,” Fuhrmann wrote. “Sexual assault and rape are often ignored on college campuses and Take Back The Night makes it impossible for people to ignore the problem for at least that one night.”