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Take Back the Night empowers sexual assault survivors

Video by Kaitlyn Connolly.

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Primary and secondary sexual assault survivors and allies gathered on the Monfort Quad, surrounded by t-shirts expressing their emotional healing Thursday night.

Organized by the Women and Gender Advocacy Center and the Campus Feminist Alliance, Take Back the Night is a nation-wide event as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month that gives a safe space for sexual assault survivors to discuss their experiences.

The Clothesline Project allows sexual assault survivors to express themselves. (Photo Credit: Katie Schmidt)
The Clothesline Project allows sexual assault survivors to express themselves. (Photo Credit: Katie Schmidt)

The event began Thursday with an open mic forum where survivors discussed their sexual assault experiences. The evening culminated in a rally in Old Town.

Andrea Hanson, a junior social work student and a contributor to the event, said they hold a rally so survivors can feel safe to walk at night without the fear of being violated.

A prominent feature of the event was the Clothesline Project. Marie Harding, a senior sociology student and WGAC member, said this is an empowering experience. According to Harding, these decorated t-shirts are made by primary and secondary survivors to share their feelings and healing process.

Several survivors detailed their experiences. One survivor thanked the organizers of the event during the open mic.

“It’s nice to see people who respond correctly to assault victims,” the survivor said.

Another listed things she said she wished she had heard following her sexual assault, such as “I believe you” and “I’m here to talk to you.”

One survivor told attendees, “Look at your pain and see how beautiful it is. … Let us be the ones to begin a revolution of resistance. Let us stand against sexual assault and say no more.”

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Collegian Social Media Editor Katie Schmidt can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @KatieDSchmidt.

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