Community takes back the night, raises awareness

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month Linfield College hosted its second Take Back the Night event to show support for survivors of sexual assault and rape.

The event, sponsored by the Student Health, Wellness and Counseling Center, took place in the courtyard in front of Walker Hall, where students, faculty and community members gathered for a rally and eventual march around campus.

Take Back the Night dates back to Europe in the 1970s and seeks to symbolically take back the night from sexual predators and show them that women can walk the streets at night without the fear of being attacked.

Although nighttime attacks may not seem like a problem at Linfield, the issue of sexual assault is more pervasive than most people realize. Slips of paper were handed out to the crowd with sexual assault statistics, showing the one in six women and one in 33 men will be the victims of sexual assault in their lifetime, and approximately two thirds of assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim.

“I think it’s very important to bring up the issue of sexual assault because even on small college campuses, sexual assault is occurring, and not many survivors are reporting for various reasons,” said freshman Katie Daugherty. “Events like Take Back the Night show these survivors that there are people who support them, and encourage them to report if they have been sexually assaulted. It is important for students to know what resources are available to them, and to encourage students to be active bystanders if they see someone in danger of being sexually assaulted.”

A group of Linfield students stood at the microphone and read poetry, articles and speeches about issues of sexual assault, including the ideas of victim blaming, how to be an ally, and how to deal with abuse after it has been committed.

County District Attorney’s Office Director of Crime Victim Services Yamhill County Debra Bridges also spoke, addressing the need for male allies to come forward and help show victims of sexual assault that they are not alone.

“I’m so pleased to see so many men in the audience,” Bridges said. “In the past it’s been like pulling teeth to get guys involved in these events but I think we’ve turned a corner. So thank you guys for coming, because you are the ones who can really make a huge difference in this entire movement.”

After the rally the large group of men and women walked a loop around Riley Hall and the IM Field shouting chants printed on the event handouts to show solidarity for victims and call for an end to the silence surrounding sexual assault.

The event ended with the crowd releasing blue and green balloons with messages written to survivors on them.

“I hope this event will raise awareness of this issue to the students here at Linfield,” Daugherty said. “This event could possibly even inspire students to join programs like C.A.T.S., and become active bystanders. Hopefully events like this and other Sexual Assault Awareness Month events get students talking about the issue and taking it seriously.”

Olivia Marovich

News editor

Olivia       Marovich can          be            reached   at            
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