The University of Connecticut Women’s Center will host its annual Take Back the Night event next Wednesday, April 11.
Take Back the Night is an international organization with the goal of protesting sexual violence and supporting victims of it.
“Take Back the Night is an evening focused on victim-survivor empowerment and healing,” Kristina Drollinger, one of the Women’s Centers’ Violence Against Women Prevention Program Ambassadors and an organizer of the event, said.
Take Back the Night protests started in England and Belgium in the 1970s. They quickly spread to America where the first events were held in San Francisco and New York City in 1978.
Take Back the Night has been an established tradition at UConn for many years.
The theme of this year’s event is “Together we can move mountains.”
“To us, this symbolizes what healing from gender-based violence often looks like,” Drollinger said. “Mountains are made up of peaks and valleys — there can be progress as well as setbacks in the process of healing. Healing isn’t linear and doesn’t look the same for everyone impacted by gender-based violence.”
Last year’s theme was “We Rise.”
The event will begin in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. with a series of performances and remarks from students who wish to share their stories.
“It provides students who have been impacted by gender-based violence first-hand with the opportunity to share their story,” Drollinger said.
After this, attendees will be invited to participate in the march around campus as a demonstration of solidarity with victim-survivors, Drollinger said. The march will be followed by a victim-survivor speak-out and coffee house in the Women’s Center. Drollinger said there is a usually a much smaller crowd at the coffee house portion of the evening.
“[It] gives people who didn’t get a chance to speak or want to do so in a more intimate setting the opportunity to speak-out,” Drollinger said.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. UConn will be having other events throughout the month such as Catcalls of UConn and UConn Denim Day.
Drollinger said people should be conscious of the need to honor a victim-survivor’s control over their narrative.
“They are the ones who should be in control of what information they choose to share and how [if at all] they want to go about seeking support or other resources,” Drollinger said. “Prying for details can be stressful for a victim-survivor.”
Drollinger said it is also important to respect and support victim-survivors who attend Take Back the Night but who chose to not speak about their experience.
“Speaking out can be empowering for some victim-survivors, but not others,” Drollinger said. “Everyone heals differently and that’s okay.”