NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On April 13, Rutgers students and supporters marched for a long-standing tradition called Take Back the Night.
Take Back the Night (TBTN) is an organization working to end gender-based sexual violence.
It has been active since the 1960s, and thousands of colleges, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers have held events in solidarity during TBTN's history.
The Rutgers event was organized by Women Organizing Against Harassment (WOAH) and student leaders Emma Sullivan, Hannah McGovern, and Maci Nordone.
It began with pizza and music at the Douglass Student Center. Then, students and supporters marched from the student center to Voorhees Mall, a central area of the College Avenue campus.
Students carried signs with slogans like "Yes=F*ck Me, No=F*ck You" and "No Excuses for Rape and Violence."
They chanted as they marched down George Street, proclaiming, "Claim our bodies, claim our rights/Take a stand, take back the night" and "Yes means yes, no means no/However I dress, wherever I go."
The event ended with a Speak Out where participants shared their stories. There were also performances, including a monologue from "The Vagina Monologues," which the Rutgers Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance recently put on to benefit the Middlesex County Center for Empowerment.
"Rape culture is very prevalent within our society, and we want to create a safe space to empower survivors within our community," says Nordone, a Rutgers School of Engineering junior and vice-president of WOAH. "We want to send out a message that says we do not tolerate victim shaming ideology, and let survivors know that we believe them and that they are not alone."
This is the third year Rutgers WOAH has organized a TBTN event.
TBTN has over twenty co-sponsors. They include:
- The Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance
- SCREAM Theater
- Douglass Residential College
- Douglass International and Multicultural Association
- Douglass Student Recruitment Network
- Middlesex County National Organization for Women
- Speak Out!
- Rutgers No More
- Rutgers University Student Assembly
- RU Choice
- Sigma Psi Zeta
- Queer & Asian
- Mechanical Engineering Student Association
- Rutgers Hillel
- Ahlul Bayt Student Association
- Sigma Lambda Gamma
- Rutgers Student Health Outreach, Promotion, and Education
- Verbal Mayhem
- Rutgers for Hillary
- Rutgers for Bernie
- Reclaim Revolution
- Phi Sigma Sigma
- United Students Against Sweatshops
- Alpha Omega Epsilon
- Latin American Womyn's Organization
Editor's Note: New Brunswick Today's Community Engagement Director one of the founders of WOAH.