NSU expands Take Back the Night to month-long programming

In order to spread awareness about sexual assault, Campus Life and Student Engagement is expanding Take Back the Night to a month of programming events, primarily taking place on every Tuesday of the month. Programming officially begins on April 4 at 7 p.m., when NSU will hold a Take Back the Night event that is part of a national movement.

“Take Back the Night is an event that is held at schools and communities across the country. It serves to both empower those who feel night is not safe, as well as to educate those who don’t realize that nighttime doesn’t feel safe to everyone,” said Laura Bennett, Title IX coordinator at NSU. “It usually involves a march as a large group and it often also involves sharing personal stories and finding a sense of community with others who may have experienced and survived a sexual assault or other form of personal violence.”

Aaron Lechner, graduate assistant for special events and projects, said the event will be an open forum for individuals to share their experiences and get resources they may need, whether they are survivors, secondary survivors or anyone looking to provide support.

Women in Distress, Forget Me Not and the Nancy J. Cotterman Center will all be at the event.

“What people know [Take Back the Night] as – that forum where people come out and talk – that’s going to be the kick-off event,” said Lechner.

Bennett said that Take Back the Night is meant to be empowering and that sharing experiences at the event will not trigger an investigation by the university. However, Bennett and Alexis Martinez, assistant dean for student development within the division of student affairs, have worked with Lechner in order to ensure students will know their rights and resources in the event of sexual assault.

“I am hopeful that there will be a good turnout, that safety is respected, and that participants are respectful, especially towards those who may share personal experiences,” Martinez said.

Other planned programming throughout the month involves other national movements and projects, such as the Clothesline Project, It’s On Us and Denim Day. Campus Life and Student Engagement will also continue a supply drive, which began on March 26, throughout the month for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Lechner said that each of these programs and campaigns aim to provide support to the survivors, supply resources they need and raise awareness about sexual assault. He said that the university also plans to provide facts and statistics about sexual assault to supplement personal stories.

Lechner, who worked with a team of individuals to coordinate the programming, including graduate assistants Carlyn Evans and Rachel Decker, said they decided to expand to month-long programming to not only raise awareness, but to let survivors know that they are supported and help other students learn how to give that support.

“We’re doing this because it’s necessary,” Lechner said. “We’re doing this so that others will step up and others will get involved. I want students to be a part of this. I want them to know that they can be there, that this isn’t for just one demographic.”

To learn more about upcoming Take Back the Night programming, contact Campus Life and Student Engagement at 954-262-7288 or Aaron Lechner at 954-262-7193. Students who have experienced sexual assault or intimate partner violence can learn what resources NSU can provide them with at nova.edu/title-ix.

Box:

April 4, 7 p.m.

Take Back the Night Speak Out Event in Flight Deck backyard

Features community resources such as Women in Distress, Forget Me Not, and the Nancy J. Cotterman Center and open forum for story sharing

April 11

Clothesline Project

Decorating shirts with phrases such as “I am a survivor”, “I will move past this” or “We are here for you”

April 18

“It’s on Us”

Part of a national campaign

April 25

Denim Day

Part of a national movement, wear denim to show support and solidarity with survivors

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