Written by Lorin Brice Hall
On Thursday, Nov. 7, the Roanoke College Health Education Awareness Team (HEAT) and Student Health and Counseling hosted their annual Take Back The Night event from 7 through 10 p.m. on the patio in front of the Colket Center.
“This event is one of the most influential and meaningful projects we host all year. It really emphasizes how serious we, as a campus, take this issue and we encourage every and all students to stand with us to help end the stigma and support the true heroes and survivors,” said Donovan Hill, a junior and RC HEAT peer educator.
Take Back The Night is an organization that works to uplift survivors of assault and violence. According to their website, “[their] mission as a charitable 501(c)3 Foundation is to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives. [They] seek to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all forms of sexual violence.”
“Take Back the Night takes place one day a year, but sexual violence takes place 365 days a year. I believe coming to support friends, family, and yourself is so important in showing that ‘No means No,’” said Emily Macleod, a junior and member of RC HEAT.
“It’s important because sexual assault is something a lot of people don’t talk about, because it’s not like a car accident where you can take steps to try to avoid it. With a car accident, you can make sure you drive sober and buckle your seatbelt; but with sexual assault, you can’t change your outfit and be protected. [Some] survivors hide if they have been assaulted, because they are afraid of not being believed or are afraid of being blamed,” said Tiffany-Reece Pires, a member of HEAT who organized this year’s Take Back the Night.
If you’ve been inspired by this event, consider volunteering or otherwise supporting RC HEAT, SARA, or other organizations that raise sexual misconduct awareness and provide support survivors.
“This event brings [sexual misconduct] into the light and tells survivors ‘we hear you, we believe you and most importantly, it is not your fault.’ SARA is an off campus resource that provides support and resources to survivors that we partner with a lot. It’s such a great organization and we are donating a portion of the proceeds we receive from the [Take Back the Night] T-shirts we sell to them.”