By Alexandrea Velez, Staff Writer
The annual Take Back the Night event, hosted by the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center, raised awareness about gender-based violence and taught techniques to help support survivors. This student-coordinated event consisted of speakers and students on campus that shared their stories.
The overarching message of the event was that survivors are never alone, even though the situation they may be in can feel very isolating. A large part of the event covered sexual violence on college campuses since college students are three times more likely to be attacked.
Kate Behrens, a double major in English and sociology, was one of the primary leaders of the event. She first started getting involved with the LWGRC by helping with #MeTooMondays, which helps sexual assault survivors learn techniques for healing and provides a support group.
“I think the fact that I don’t know that much about sexual violence on campus really speaks volumes because it’s covered up. I know about a few occurrences here and there, and they’ve been covered up so it’s hard because you can’t develop an opinion,” Behrens said.
Multiple students have disclosed during interviews at Take Back the Night that they have reported to the school and hardly anything is ever processed.
“And it’s not exclusive to our school, and especially if you don’t have spaces like Take Back the Night or [#MeToo] Mondays … [and] they can only go so far when we have an administration that is tirelessly covering these up,” Behrens said.
Ciara Dalton, a junior psychology major with a business minor, is a member of the Take Back the Night committee.
Dalton was in charge of the Clothesline Project that took place on the quad, which raised awareness about sexual assault through clothing. All the shirts on the clothesline were written by survivors or in honor of survivors. This gave the shirts anonymity, which inspired a bigger turnout.
“So it’s kind of sad to see a lot of people come to the table and be like, which color should I choose? … Like it’s great that we have so many shirts but it’s sad that we have some issues,” Dalton said.
Dalton disclosed that she has filed a report to the school because she was sexually assaulted on campus during her sophomore year. She reported the assault to the school several months later, and although the school’s policy states that a report like her’s is supposed to be handled within 60 to 80 days from filing, Dalton’s lasted four months. This is because there has been a decline in staff, so most of the people handling these issues are volunteers.
“There wasn’t a lot of support for the victim,” Dalton said. “It was more like these are what we can do so that the school doesn’t get sued. And that was it. And again, when you report it’s not like the other person that you’re reporting anything happened to them yet. So I still had to see that person on campus every day for months until it was over.”
The LWGRC helps victims of assault and is currently working on reforming the Title IX policy in place at MC.
Maya Lloyd, the director of Outreach and Engagement at Hope’s Door, a non-profit domestic violence agency in Westchester County, was one of the speakers at Take Back the Night.
“It’s important to have these types of events here to raise awareness because I’m sure there are so many people that just don’t have the confidence or don’t feel like they can kind of come out and tell their story,” Lloyd said. “So I would just say continue to have these events. And continue to stand in solidarity with supporters with survivors, excuse me. So that’s the best way to go about that.”