Campus groups rally to raise awareness for sexual violence at Take Back the Night event

Syracuse participated in the national campaign Tuesday night, which was co-hosted by 73 different campus groups.

Students and faculty crowded in Hendricks Chapel Tuesday night to participate in Syracuse’s annual Take Back the Night event, which raises awareness about domestic and sexual violence.

The event, which began at 7 p.m., featured speeches, a rally and a march that culminated at the speak-out in Hendricks Chapel, where community members came together to participate in group dialogue about violence and how Syracuse University can work together to eliminate this issue.

Around 300 students, many representing their respective sorority or fraternity, gathered to hear empowering stories about sexual assault and participate in discussion. Banners with handprints of members in each Greek life chapter on campus hung around the chapel, representing their pledge to not use their hands for violence.

Over 73 different groups co-sponsored the event.

“This campus is dedicated to continuing our work in preventing, responding to and educating students, faculty and staff about sexual and domestic assault,” Dean Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, one of many in charge of the event, said.

Take Back the Night is an event put on nationally at hundreds of colleges across the United States. It sprung out of an executive order from President Obama. The goal of the event is to bring students into the discussion about a national issue and educate them about how to avoid violence.

“It is so important that students are part of this discussion,” Kantrowitz said.

Students spent the event discussing violence in their life and how they can help one another to end it. Select students addressed the crowd, sharing their own experiences and opinions about the prevalence of violence in society.

“I don’t have to be a survivor to stand up for what’s right," Emily Lobraico, a senior psychology major and a member of the Take Back the Night committee said. "I hold myself and those around me to higher standards.”

Many of the speakers called on the audience to take to heart what was said and attempt to make Syracuse University a better place for everyone.

“It is on all of us to create a safer campus from sexual and relationship violence,” Kantrowitz said.

The keynote speaker of the night was Kim Williams, a director at the Multicultural Affairs Office and a mentor of Syracuse’s POSSE program.

“Just because people stand, doesn’t mean they know what they are standing for. So, I will ask, what are you standing for?” Williams asked the crowd. “Today I want you to consider taking this Take Back the Night as one in which you ask how has your identity helped you in deciding how you are going to fight for rights.”

Williams drew on statistics across the country to show what a grave and important issue violence is. She called for activism against violence and implored the audience to consider all minorities that are discriminated.

After the event, students prepared chants and marched around campus, calling on the school to recognize the issue of violence on campus. Afterward, students gathered in Hendricks, without the presence of the media, to hold a speak-out, where students privately shared their experiences with violence.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.