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Take Back the Night runs 25 years

By Nicolette Clark
On November 5, 2013

  • Take Back the Night, an annual event on Brockport’s campus for the past 25 years, worked to spread awareness about domestic violence in modern society. More than 150 people participated in the march. Kelly StycZynski/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

"However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no," was heard ringing throughout the College at Brockport campus and the Village of Brockport, Wednesday, Oct. 30. 

Students, men and women alike, joined together to "shatter the silence" for the college's 25th annual Take Back the Night event. 

The student-led event featured a domestic violence victim as well as personal testimonies, followed by a march through the campus and village. 

Take Back the Night started off with a moment of silence for Alexandra Kogut and other women who have been affected by domestic violence. 

"The purpose of the Take Back the Night event is to break the silence society accepts toward violence against women," Brockport senior and Take Back the Night organizer Meghan Soos said.

Soos said that the theme for this year's Take Back the Night event was empowerment. She also shared that it's the 25th annual Take Back the Night at the college, but they are still fighting for rights 25 years later. 

Take Back the Night hit home for students this year with it being just a little more than a year since the alleged murder of Brockport student Alexandra Kogut. Women and Gender Studies professor, Barbara LeSavoy said that the event had heightened meaning for everyone.

"We should carry the torch and be responsible," LeSavoy said. "We rise in voice for those who can't, for Alex [Kogut], and for the others who can't. There should always be a remembrance of her."

She shared that her wish for the event was that it was shared across disciplines. 

During an interview, she posed the question, "How do we get sensitivity across disciplines?" 

The Take Back the Night website states the internationally known event started in 1975 in Philadelphia, Penn. after a woman, Susan Alexander Speeth, was "stabbed to death" walking alone, just one mile from her home.

Since then, many campuses and groups in cities throughout the U.S. have been participating in Take Back the Night rallies and marches every October because it's domestic violence awareness month. 

"We had a last minute cancellation due to an emergency with our speaker Annie Lane, we were lucky to have Christi Waldron be able to step and speak for us," Soos said about the keynote spearker.

Other speakers at the event included Waldron of Rape Crisis Services, Peter Navratil of Resolve Rochester's Stand Up Guys, Lydia Billings of Trigger Warning and Sarah Johnson, a Brockport student.

"It's OK to be outraged and make the noise because we want our voices to be heard," Soos said. 

Diverse student organizations were in attendance at the event, including sororities and fraternities, members of sport teams and students from various other organizations. 

It was sophomore Brianna McEnroe's first Take Back the Night experience. She said one of the stories really resonated in her about a girl who was taken advantage of at a party and she wanted to save her first experience for a special time, but was raped.

"I thought it was really brave of her to come out and say [her story] in front of the crowd," McEnroe said. "It's good to let people know there is people like that out there and you need to be careful."

She shared that she was shocked after hearing the woman's tale.

"I would have told the cops on him," she said. "I know that it's hard but I don't think that people should be quiet about that type of thing."

The event was sponsored by the Social Work department, Social Work Organization, the Women and Gender Studies department, women and gender organization Stand-Up Guys and Alternatives for Battered Women.

Soos said she was happy with the way the event turned out. 

"I believe the event was successful we had more than 150 people participate in the march and rally," Soos said. "We were happy to have so much noise be made, and have people from the village come out of their houses and join us for this important event."

Soos shared that the impact the event had  really resonated with her. 

"[The event] really brought to my attention how hidden these issues are on society," Soos said. "I think it's amazing how many people are victims who chose not to speak out. I think society as a whole decides to accept this rape culture."

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