Take Back the Night is an annual event to raise awareness about issues surrounding sexual assault while also protesting the current climate of fear and violence that women must confront in today’s society. It aids women in finding and demonstrating their empowerment, provides a forum for women to make their voices heard and creates an environment in which survivors of sexual assault can begin to heal.

Take Back the Night is not simply a few workshops that touch on topics of violence, or dynamic speakers, or self-defense workshops. It is not only women’s performances, artwork and self-expression. It is not just about celebrating women’s solidarity or about walking through the streets at night. The sum is greater than the parts; this event is about saving lives. It is about transforming victims into survivors. It is about taking every possible precaution of education, self-defense, awareness and protest so that it doesn’t happen again. Take Back the Night is an indispensable part of this campus for both men and women in envisioning a future in which we as a community will no longer tolerate sexual assault.

This year, Take Back the Night takes place April 14 to18. It starts off with our opening rally at Storke Plaza at noon on Monday followed by a series of workshops from 2 to 5 p.m. in various MultiCultural Center meeting rooms. On Tuesday, there will be various events happening at the Women’s Center, such as a presentation by Students Stopping Rape regarding their It Affects Me week as well as a self-defense workshop happening on the Women’s Center lawn. That evening there will be an open mic night taking place at the MCC theater from 7 to 11 p.m., in which any and all folks are invited to come and share their words.

Wednesday at the Women Center, there will be an event entitled “Art as Revolution” starting at 7 p.m. where there will be a space to conceive and share art and make T-shirts that will be added to our clothesline project. Throughout that day there will be safe spaces provided at the Women’s Center for men, women of color and members of the LGBTQ communities.

On Thursday the week culminates at Anisq’ Oyo park at 5 p.m. with bands, dancers, a self-defense demonstration, speakers and testimonials, along with a march that begins at 9 p.m. through I.V. This event is amazing and held every year with a fantastic turnout. Lastly, on Friday there will be a day of reflection held at the Women’s Center where counselors will be on-site to talk about anything regarding this issue. Please come show your support for this event and take advantage of the amazing resources, educational tools and safe spaces provided throughout this week to talk about sexual assault in our community. For an extensive schedule or more information, come by the Women’s Center and pick up a schedule of events.

Kimberly Stiner-Zercoe is the Take Back the Night coordinator.