“Take back the night” is a cathartic evening where members of the UNCG community speak out against sexual abuse and violence by sharing their personal experiences. This event is organized and supported by Alpha Chi Omega and the Wellness Center.
TBTN is a part of “The Clothesline Project” which is a week long form of awareness where donated shirts are written on anonymously by students, sharing their experiences as victims of sexual assault and violence. The project dates back over 30 years at UNCG and is also incorporated by various other schools throughout the United States. These T-shirts are strung across trees on the Jackson Library and Stone lawns. The intimate and personal stories displayed are windows into the abuses and sexual violence that occur worldwide.
TBTN facilitators and Alpha Chi Omega members led a march around campus, incorporating chants such as: “2-4-6-8 No More Violence, No More Rape”, and “Whatever I Wear, Wherever I Go, Yes Means Yes and No Means No.”
The march went through the library, the cafeteria, down College Avenue and back to the library lawn. At its last stop, all attendees were offered a candle, to join in a vigil for those affected by sexual violence.
The support group for survivors of sexual assault and abuse, Worthy Woman, took space during the speaking portion of the event to discuss a need for survivors’ support. A representative from Worthy Woman said, “If you need support, don’t feel ashamed to talk to a friend or a family member. Don’t feel ashamed about getting help, because there are lots of resources that can help you. I want to create a place of consent culture where we are not blaming people for what happened to them, and we are not making them feel ashamed or singled out.”
Those who spoke were victims and survivors of sexual assault and violence, as well as emotional abuse. “This was not my fault” and “I didn’t know what they had done was wrong” were just some of the themes that echoed through the stories told. The majority of sexual assault victims are under the age of thirty, which makes TBTN significant in a college setting because young adults a need a space they feel at ease to tell their stories of abuse and survival.
A new development, brought up at this years’ TBTN, is the Campus Violence Response Center, that hosted its grand opening on Aug. 24. Every year for Sexual Assault Awareness week, more UNCG clubs, groups and departments work in collaboration to confront and aid issues of sexual abuse and violence with safety and support networks.
Not only did the UNCG Wellness Center serve as a resource for support at TBTN, but the new Campus Violence and Response Center, the Advocated Taking Action student group, The Sexual Violence Advocacy Program and Planned Parenthood, did as well. All of these organizations, or their representatives, attended and showed support for victims of sexual violence, while also serving as a resource and making themselves available to help those in need.