Students Rally to ‘Take Back the Night’ Against Violence
April 28, 2011
On Wednesday night, NYU students met near the grand staircase of the Kimmel Center for University Life and marched around campus to raise awareness of assault and sexual violence. Take Back the Night is an annual event held by the National Organization for Women and cosponsored by campus organizations like Haven of Opportunities for Educational Progress. Members of HOPE work with a domestic violence shelter in Harlem to donate school materials to underprivileged children.
Students held a vigil in Washington Square Park and lit candles to support victims of sexual violence across the world. Singer Mary Josephine performed while students held signs and shouted, “No means no, sexual assault has got to go!”
Josephine was a victim of domestic violence and writes songs as a way to cope with her past.
“I want people to know they should never give up,” Josephine said. “Self-love is extremely important.”
Her song “Desert Eagle” is about progressing and moving toward acceptance. She sang her original pieces and gave words of advice to listeners at the event.
Other victims of sexual assault and abuse also spoke about their experiences, sharing how their lives have changed from sexual violence and how relationships and trust have become more difficult for them to establish.
“It is important to encourage more than one depiction of a survivor or victim of violence, despite their race or gender,” CAS junior Shanida Arabi, president of NOW-NYU, said.
Take Back the Night originated in Philadelphia in 1975. For over 35 years, the foundation has focused their efforts on the danger and fear that many women face when walking through streets alone at night. On this evening, thousands of Americans come together to walk around cities and light up the darkness to promote a greater awareness of sexual injustice.
“I am excited because we are able to get the word out in a big way,” CAS junior Alex Sahraie, HOPE co-president, said.
NOW also held two raffles with prizes of a set of books with candy and a gift basket from the Consignment Closet in New Jersey. Proceeds were donated to the HOPE organization.
“I hope that people walk away ready to challenge the stigma of sexual violence and know that there is nothing to be ashamed about,” Arabi said. “Most importantly, this night is about promoting a safer world.”