Women’s Center event, Take Back the Night, aims to support women’s issues
By Kara VanBlargen, Women’s Center Columnist
This week Gettysburg College celebrates the Women’s Center annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) event.
According to takebackthenight. org, The foundation “serves to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives. We seek to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.”
Pennsylvania is a historically significant state for TBTN as the first documented event in the United States. In Philadelphia on October 1975, citizens gathered to protest the murder of Susan Alexander Speeth, a young microbiologist who was stabbed to death by a stranger just a few blocks from her home while walking the streets alone. Philadelphians were outraged by the bold act of violence and used TBTN as a tool for protest.
Katie Koestner, founder of the international headquarters and charitable foundation of TBTN, was “the first woman to speak out nationally and publicly about date rape” (takebackthenight.org). For over 35 years, Pennsylvanians have led the country in fighting back against sexual violence and the Women’s Center continues this tradition.
Now, thousands of colleges, universities, women’s centers, and rape crisis centers sponsor events across the country in the hopes to eliminate sexual violence in all forms.
According to takebackthenight. org, “at least one out of every three women worldwide has been beaten, forced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime by a partner, relative, friend, stranger, employer, and/or colleague. Of these crimes, less than 50% are reported to the police. It’s time to make a change.” TBTN encourages all women and men facing sexual violence to join together to “take back your voice, take back the night” and “shatter the silence, stop the violence”.
Take Back the Night was held in the Junction (College Union Building) on Wednesday, April 2 from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. This year a portion of the program was dedicated to the life and legacy of Emily Rachel Silverstein who died as result of domestic violence just 5 years ago at Gettysburg College.
There were “Vagina Strong” bracelets for the first 25 people who arrive as well as a free t-shirt raffle. Attendees were asked to sign a pledge against violence to enter to win. The Women’s Center encourages all women and men to join us in unity to stop the sexual violence in and around our campus community.