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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Events

Supporters ‘Take Back the Night’ for sexual assault victims


Students rallied together to show support for sexual assault victims while shedding light on gender-based violence to make our campus a safer place.

The Women’s Resource Center hosted the nationwide campaign, “Take Back the Night,” that seeks to put an end to sexual assault, domestic violence and other forms of sexual violence. Guest speakers, vocalists, trivia games and various on-campus organizations joined the commemoration.

“I was involved in Take Back the Night in my hometown of Lubbock, and I was excited to hear that it was here at UH,” said biology freshman Jacqueline Taylor. “This type of violence isn’t something that is in the forefront of media, and it needs to be stood up for.  Consent is sexy.”

Director of the WRC Beverly McPhail thinks this is an important event for students to learn how they can impact the issue of sexual assault on campus and keep themselves and others safe.  She also said it is vital students know where to report sexual assaults and seek help if one is victimized.

“Many students are more concerned about a stranger jumping out from behind a bush while they are walking across campus,” McPhail said. “However, most sexual assaults on college campuses occur in the residence halls or fraternity houses by someone the person knows, at least tangentially.”

Bianca Hunter was the first guest speaker to share her story of violence and what she did to overcome it. Like the other speakers, she is a member of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nations largest anti-sexual violence network.

Hunters abuse started at the age of 13 and continued for years. She lived in fear and guilt and attempted suicide, but it wasn’t until she filed charges against her abuser that she was able to start healing.

“Rape not only hurts you physically, but it hurts mentally as well. It hurts your heart and hurts you in so many ways,” Hunter said.  “I’m convinced I went through a lot, so I can tell people who are in similar situations that they can overcome it. I am a survivor.”

Economics freshman Emma Weathers felt proud to have attended the event and heard the stories of the survivors. She thinks people don’t realize how big a problem rape and sexual assaults are because they are usually unreported.

“I think there is a lot of shame that comes with sexually violent crimes, and most times, the victims assume it’s their fault,” Weathers said. “Women are embarrassed that they have been raped. If we don’t support them as victims, some may never say anything.”

To emphasize the importance of feeling safe in all environments, students marched around campus while saying chants, including “wherever we go, however we dress, no means no, and yes means yes,” and “claim our bodies, claim our right, take a stand, take back the night.”After, the students hosted a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence to remember the women who are suffering or have suffered from violence.

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