Students Rally against Sexual Violence

Students shared their personal experiences with sexual and domestic violence in a silent, confidential room and after voiced their concerns towards the issue in a lively march around campus. Ramapo held is third annual Take Back the Night last Thursday.

“It's basically an event that has two parts,” said Kevin Hurtado, violence prevention program coordinator at the Women’s Center. “We encourage survivors to tell their stories and we try to do it in a space and an environment that supports them and encourages them and also is very confidential, and then after that we literally take back the night and we march around campus and basically make a lot of noise for all the people whose voices have been silenced or who didn't feel comfortable enough to speak at the event."

 Take Back the Night is a national event that is held by thousands of colleges, domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in the U.S., according the Take Back the Night website.

Ramapo’s event was sponsored by the Women’s Center, Ebony Women for Social Change and the College Panhellenic Council (CPH).

“CPH aims to empower all women and by sharing our stories and by supporting others who share theirs, we hope that we can 'take back the night' for everyone,” Genna Turci, the representative for CPH said in an email. “Domestic Violence is something that we as CPH believe…needs to be ended because no one deserves to be put through that kind of pain.”

According to The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) study by the National Institute of Justice, 18 percent of college students experienced an attempted and/or completed sexual assault during their college career. The report also found that assaults were most likely to occur in September, October and November, on Friday and Saturday nights and between midnight and 6:00 a.m. It also stated that freshmen and sophomores were at a greater risk of suffering from sexual violence than juniors or seniors.

"It's an important topic to discuss because especially on college campuses it's extremely prevalent,” said Hurtado. “It's most prevalent in college I believe from August to October, I think it's called the red zone, and that's when the most sexual assaults happen and it's mostly targeted at freshmen."

Several students stood up in the first half of the event to share their personal experiences with sexual and domestic violence.

“It was really heavy, but I think anyone can benefit from going there, even if you feel like you would be uncomfortable in an emotional setting, it really is empowering,” said Hurtado.

The night ended with a march across campus that stopped in front of every dorm building. Students yelled out various chants, hoping to send messages to other students across campus including, “people unite, take back the night” and “one, two, three, four, we won’t take it anymore; five, six, seven, eight, stop the violence and the hate.”

Photo by Grace Maute