Take Back the Night is a worldwide foundation that creates “safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives,” according to the official website takebackthenight.org. They also work to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all forms of sexual violence.
Last year, the Benedictine University PEACE team met with Fempower and community partners including the YWCA, Family Shelter Service, Arab American Family Services, and Reclaiming Me. This meeting sparked a partnership that would lead to hosting Take Back the Night activities annually on Benedictine University’s campus to offer it specifically for the community.
Benedictine hosted events for the past three years in dedication to the month of April, which is Sexual Awareness Month. In honor of this, the University strives to support survivors, talk about how to engage in prevention through learning about bystander intervention, healthy relationships, consent, and made a commitment to take action to end sexual assault.
Last year the University featured resource fairs, a survivor and ally speak out session, and a rally to contribute to the Take Back the Night event. Although the 2020 Take Back the Night in-person events were canceled due to the Coronavirus, “we still wanted to find a way to host it virtually to show our support for survivors and our commitment to ending gender-based violence” said Bernadette Muloski.
On April 8th, 2020 at 7 PM the virtual event of Take back the Night will occur on Webex. “The event will include information about what we are doing on campus for prevention and response, a survivor support/ ally speak out where we will share poetry, quotes, and statements from PEACE team members, students, and community partners, a rally where we will all read the chants against gender-based violence together, and end by sharing points of light (messages of support) with survivors,” said Muloski.
Another event that the community can look out for from April 20-24 is “It’s On Us”. Each year the University has hosted the “It’s On Us Week of Action,” where the campus community discusses what they can do to prevent sexual assault. After working with the Marketing team, an It’s On Us video was created to bring awareness to the event. The video can be found by following this link, http://www.ben.edu/peace. To kick off It’s On Us Week of Action, a Yoga for Empowerment and Self-Care event will take place on Webex on April 20th at 3:30 PM.
The PEACE team is encouraging members of the community to follow the daily Sexual Assault Awareness Month posts on the PEACE team’s Instagram @benupeaceteam.
“While we are not together physically right now, it is so important that we continue to care for all of the members of our Benedictine community and support one another. We hope that people will come to these events as a way to care for themselves and others,” said Muloski.