Students, faculty and members of the Elon community gathered for the semi-annual Take Back the Night event on Feb. 27. According to the Gender and LGBTQIA Center’s website, the event is "a student speak-out that is meant to empower and support survivors of gender-based violence.”
In Whitley Auditorium, survivors took turns taking the microphone to share their stories. Behind them, clotheslines were strung with t-shirts made by survivors featuring words and images that represent their own personal journey.
The event is normally held in April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but, according to Assistant Director of the GLC, Becca Bishopric Patterson, the organization decided to move the event up because they found students didn’t have enough time to connect with supportive resources before the end of the school year.
“The event always feels very sacred, and we try to make it a confidential and supportive environment,” Bishopric Patterson said. “There’s something really healing about putting voice to the story.”
According to the organization’s website, Take Back the Night events have been occurring worldwide since the 1960s. Events can take many forms, from rallies and protests to reserved speak-outs such as Elon’s event.
Tripp Hill has attended Take Back the Night several times. “We all can come together and have a moment of vulnerability,” he said.
“It gives people a space to share,” said Kerry Barba, president of Students Promoting Awareness, Change, and Empowerment. “You see everyone’s face and know that they really care.”
The event also serves as a way for students to connect with organizations on and off campus that support survivors of sexual assault, such as the Title IX office and CrossRoads.
“We aim to be the peer resources for students,” said Emily Sedwick, who has worked for the organization for two years.
For resources regarding interpersonal violence, a Safeline confidential advocacy phone line is available at (336) 278-3333 and more information about violence response at Elon can be found here.