By: Renee Walters, Contributing Writer Photo Courtesy of Anna Gombert
On Thursday, April 26, Women’s Concerns: A Feminist House (WoCo) hosted “Take Back the Night,” an annual event to bring awareness to and protest against sexual violence against women.
Take Back the Night is an international event and began in the 1978 in response to the murders and violence perpetrated against women in the United States and the world. “The police had advised women that they should not go outside at night alone,” said Alissa Glaeser (’18), one of the event organizers. “They found that to be bullshit and organized a march to literally take back the night without male supervision and their right to have autonomy over their body.” Take Back the Night has been an annual traditional at Drew since WoCo’s inception in 1989.
About thirty participants gathered in the courtyard at Brothers College at 7 p.m. On a Different Note, the all female a capella group, belted two heartfelt songs, “In the Arms of an Angel” and “Hallelujah,” to start the event. At 7:30 the group began to march, holding candles and chanting different mantras such as “We want freedom, we want rights, we want to walk alone at night,” “Yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go” and “Women unite, take back the night.”
The programs given out to attendees listed the chants as well as all the stops on the march. It also included background information about the event, stating “The March makes a statement that acts of violation committed by strangers and acts like secual assault and date rape that are most commonly perpetrated by people we know are UNACCEPTABLE and WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.”
“The march, for Drew, is also a way to honor the women on this campus who have experienced sexual violence,” said Sarah Tully (’19), a WoCo member who has participated in three Take Back the Night events at Drew. The group marched around campus stopping at 16 spots where women have been assaulted or raped. At each stop, a poem was read and a rose was left in honor of the victims. Stops on the march included: Mead Hall, Behind Simon Forum, Glenwild Path, Health Services, and Hoyt. The March ended where it began at Brother’s College.
Tully said that the march is only for women and women-aligned individuals, however, a Men’s Vigil also takes place during the march where men are invited to talk about the role men play in patriarchal violence and their experiences of it.
“This is really an amazing and emotional event that I think everyone on this campus should experience at least once,” said Tully.