College Feminists host Take Back the Night week, organize virtual and in-person events


Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

Students march for Take Back the Night at the 2019 event. College Feminists is bringing back Take Back the Night with a week of virtual and in-person programming from May 23 to 29.

Caroline Brew, Reporter

Take Back the Night, a weeklong event supporting sexual violence survivors and hosted by College Feminists, returned with virtual and in-person programming from May 23 to 29. 

Weinberg sophomore Susan Jeon, president of College Feminists, said in addition to supporting survivors, Take Back the Night intends to facilitate conversations on the roots of sexual violence and how to combat it at Northwestern. 

“There’s definitely some restrictions (with this year’s event) because there’s not as much face-to-face contact and that physical support of being there with the community,” Jeon said. “But I feel even though people’s cameras may be off… it’s still a good space to learn about how to support survivors and how to deal with trusting yourself after traumatic events.”

The week began with a presentation from Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators on how to support survivors. Jeon said the organization started with this presentation to introduce the correct language to use when discussing sexual violence. 

Weinberg junior Juliet Jacques, who gave the SHAPE presentation, said it provided a basis on how to communicate with survivors after they share their experiences. 

“We feel it’s a good tool for student orgs and students on campus to reflect on making a space that feels comfortable to survivors and making sure their places and communities are survivor-focused,” Jacques said. 

Weinberg junior Shreya Chimpiri presented with Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault on masculinity and how to include men in conversations about sexual assault. Chimpiri said the workshop specifically covered ways to identify the origins of sexual violence and how men can be allies. 

One of the benefits of conducting these workshops over Zoom is the anonymity it offers to attendees, Chimpiri added.

“In typical sexual assault masculinity workshops, a lot of people are really afraid to go… because of being identified and the kind of societal backlash for it,” Chimpiri said. “Whereas here you can turn off your camera, you don’t need to put your name anywhere. You can just listen to the resources and not feel that societal stigma around it.”

However, one of the drawbacks to Zoom, Chimpiri added, is that organizers cannot sense whether someone is comfortable by observing their body language. 

SPEAK for Change, a survivor-centered student group, hosted an event about the role memories play in dealing with trauma. 

“I feel like there’s a lot of effort to conceal whether you’re a survivor or not,” Jeon said. “ That goes into what SHAPE is doing about trusting your memories after traumatic events and having a safe space to talk about it.”

College Feminists will supply art materials Thursday at the Lakefill to make signs with messages to survivors and distribute free ribbons for sexual assault awareness at the Women’s Center.

The week will wrap with a restorative yoga session hosted over Zoom. 

“Take Back the Night — that phrase — encompasses our goal really well because it’s a basic human right for women to walk at night without fear of being harmed in any way,” Jeon said.

Email: [email protected]

Related Stories: 

— Sex Week 2021 explores healing through sex and intimacy

— Let’s talk about (non-normative) sex: NU Sex Week emphasizes inclusion, community in this year’s programming

— Founder of Rebirth Garments Sky Cubacub gives keynote at Sex Week