The University is hosting events dealing with sexual assault and issues of violence against women during Take Back the Night week. The week will end this Friday with a rally, march and speakout demonstrating intolerance for violence against women.
Take Back the Night is sponsored by the Women’s Center, Health Education Services and the Lecture Fund.
TBTN week began with a ceremony on Monday in which two students spoke about their personal experiences with sexual assault. A bench and a commemorative plaque were dedicated to Take Back the Night.
Students and faculty also planted flowers in the Take Back the Night garden created last year on the east side of the Reiss Building to honor victims of violence against women.
“The garden serves as a visible reminder, full of growing and living things to contrast the violence and remind us of the strength of the survivors,” said co-Chair of Take Back the Night Jessica Corsi (SFS ‘03). “We hope to expand every year until the garden is full and lush.”
“You can’t ignore a garden … it’s a beautiful space,” Corsi said.
Other events for TBTN week include a self-defense workshop, a discussion on dating violence and a concert in Bulldog alley.
“The goal [of the concert]is to bring about awareness at Georgetown?to let girls and guys know that there are resources on campus,” concert organizer Mary Malyska (CAS ‘03) said. “I think awareness at Georgetown is pretty low,” Malyska said.
The concert, which was held Wednesday night, included performances by the Georgetown University Step Team, Bonnie Morris of Mother Tongue, Meagan Perkins, Carol Bui and Gina Young of Riot Grrrl New York.
“I perform at Take Back the Night because I think the voices of women have been silenced and need to be heard, especially survivors of sexual violence,” Young said. “I think all women have been intimately affected by sexual violence.”
A peacekeeper training and a street harassment workshop will be held in Leavey center today. The events will lead up to a rally on Friday, with Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization of Women starting off the march.
“The purpose of the march is to vocalize loudly our intolerance for violence against women and demand that the situation change,” Corsi said.
At Monday’s dedication service, GU Pride President and Voice staff member Joe McFadden (CAS ‘02) shared his experience with sexual assault.
“The recurrence of sexual assault and rape depends on our inability to speak out and fight it,” McFadden said. “This silence not only further harms victims of sexual assault, but also further perpetuates incidences of sexual assault,” he said.
“Take Back the Night’s main purpose is breaking the silence around sexual assault and turning something that’s a private and painful experience of millions of people into that something that’s publicly addressed,” McFadden said.
For the second year, a petition is circulating in an attempt to change the current University telephone system so that all phone call harassment can be traced.
“[The new system] would allow for tracing of harassing phone calls,” Corsi said. “We can’t now because of the centralized phone system,” she said.
Corsi said members of Take Back the Night had collected approximately 400 signatures this year. Six hundred signatures were collected last year.