Northwestern ‘takes back the night’ for Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Jordan Harrison, Assistant Campus Editor

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Several Northwestern groups will host events to support survivors of sexual violence this week as part of NU’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

The week, running from Monday through Saturday, is organized by Take Back the Night; the Center for Awareness, Response and Education; and Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators, among others.

SESP senior Haley Pilgrim, co-chair of Take Back the Night, said that because recent Title IX activism has increased sexual assault awareness on campus, Take Back the Night will be able to focus more energy on supporting survivors.

“Because there is the Title IX movement that is focused on raising awareness this year that we haven’t had in previous years, our mission is really to support survivors and get the conversation among students that this does happen, it’s not okay, and to provide resources and support for the survivors that are on this campus,” Pilgrim said.

For Thursday’s headlining event, the Take Back the Night rally and march, participants will march around campus starting from The Rock at 6 p.m. and ending at Norris University Center. Following the march, there will be a “survivor speak-out” at the Dittmar Gallery.

Several performing artists will visit NU as part of the week. Guante, a National Poetry Slam winner, hip-hop artist and educator, will present his spoken word poetry Wednesday in “Burning Boxers,” an event hosted by SHAPE and Take Back the Night.

Pilgrim said Guante’s poetry would address the importance of being an ally and how constructions of masculinity exacerbate rape culture.

Artemisia Theatre will perform a staged reading called “The Lake”, which discusses interpersonal violence and alcohol abuse, Monday in Harris Hall.

“I’m really excited about that event,” Pilgrim said. “Sexual assault awareness is really close to his heart … he brings business cards so people can call him after because he just wants to be as helpful as possible.”

There will also be additional discussion-based events held throughout the week focused on a variety of different topics including supporting survivors and sexual assault in media.

Weinberg junior Kayleen McMonigal said she was interested in attending some of the planned events, noting sexual assault awareness is important for the University.

“I think it’s the kind of thing where you don’t much hear about it or survivors of sexual assault feel silenced,” she said. “I think it’s really important for there to be events so that people are aware of what’s going on around them.”

Weinberg junior Lizz Bohl, Take Back the Night co-chair, said part of the group’s mission in organizing the week is to help people recognize sexual assault.

“Sexual violence presents itself in so many different forms and a lot of times it’s only thought about in the way media presents it,” Bohl said. “We want to support survivors and make sure there’s a safe space on campus for them and to also know that there are people who believe them and support them and care about them.”

Twitter: @MedillJordan