Published: May 5, 2016
The Jane Kopas Women’s Center hosted the 26th Annual Take Back the Night event April 28 in the John J. Long Center and on the Alumni Memorial Green. This rally has been held in the Scranton community and on many college campuses since the 1970s and strives to bring awareness about sexual assault by giving a voice to victims.
Volunteers from The University’s community, including Justine Johnson, director of The Women’s Center, and Nicole Lasota, student coordinator, are responsible for coordinating the event, pre-rally, march and speak-out. Numerous faculty and staff members like Dean Rivera, Anitra McShea, Ph.D., Jennifer LaPorta, Ph.D., the title IX coordinator for The University, were also in attendance.
Linzie Rosa had a table at the pre-rally. As a woman, this event is very important to Rosa because of the many young women who are victims of sexual violence on college campuses.
Rosa’s table at the pre-rally provided information about the S.A.F.E. (Scranton Alliance for Equality) Space club. This group focuses on sexual, domestic and intimate partner violence experienced by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community.
Rosa explained that people in the LGBTQ+ community experience sexual violence more often then their heterosexual counter parts. Rosa pointed out that 65 percent of transgender individuals report experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime.
The event featured information on the span of sexual violence across cultures, and included information on how to get help from campus services.
The Liva Arts Company sang “One Call Away” by Charlie Puth to begin the event.
During the march, participants had the opportunity to give their words a voice by carrying signs with messages such as, “We Stand Together” and “Together We Rise.”
“Rally for Solidarity” began with a performance by the Royal Signers signing “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten in American Sign Language. Johnson’s opening remarks emphasized the purpose of this event.
“We stand with people who have experienced sexual violence, we stand to demand accountability for those who harm and we stand united for a violence-free community,” Johnson said.
Lasota began the event by speaking about the history of Take Back the Night.
“Take Back the Night’s history spans over half a century. In the late 1960s, activists began holding events in the United States. The members of the Founders’ Board and supporters came together to unite the hundreds of events being held under the Take Back the Night banner around the world,” Lasota said.
Student volunteer Abby Kennedy stated that the planning process of the event began back in December. She feels that The University has done a great job of adapting to mandatory Title IX awareness programs.
Resources such as University of Scranton Police also spoke about campus safety. A detailed list of resources can be found at www.scranton.edu/pact.
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