Take Back the Night is a nationwide movement to encourage people to speak out and support survivors. At LHU, it was sponsored by the Gay Straight Alliance and the Gender Equality and Liberation club, along with numerous other clubs and the Hope Center.
Professor Lisette Schillig, from the English Department and the Director of the Hope Center, asked to start the event with a moment of silence for Carlie Hall, a freshman from Millersburg University who was killed in February, allegedly by her boyfriend.
The event featured speakers who were students, faculty and representatives from the Clinton County Women’s Center.
The audience was composed of a relatively equal number of men and women, which was mentioned several times as an encouraging sign.
“Guys should be concerned, but what reason do they have to worry about it? They don’t think that it might happen to them,” said Tim Baylor, a sociology professor. “We are intimately tied to the issue by the women we are connected to. I believe that men are what we need to help end sexual assault,” he added.
The Department of Justice reports that 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime, but that number is distorted by males who don’t report being raped because of stereotypes or uncertainty.
“The obstacle course required to report sexual assault is ridiculous,” said Noah Penny, a junior majoring in recreation management. “Something needs to happen here on campus.”
Several speakers shared their experiences as survivors or their friends and encouraged the audience to support people they know in any way possible. One of the best ways to help is to encourage them to consult with professionals.
Options around campus include the Hope Center or the Clinton County Women’s Center.
Professor Tara Mitchell, from the psychology department and the Hope Center board of directors, stepped up to the microphone. She asked members of the audience to climb up the stairs and count off from one to 48.
“You’ve heard a lot of statistics, but I want to show you one. We’ve been here 75 minutes,” said Professor Mitchell. “In the time we’ve been here, 48 people in the United States have been raped.”
The end of the event was a march around campus, where students’ voices echoed across campus as they chanted, “Take back the night!”
“Fear gathers silence and silence doesn’t protect you,” Amy Downs, a social work professor, said. “We have strength together, if we stand together.”
Photos courtesy of Kyra Smith-Cullen