April 15, 2004

Take Back the Night

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Tuesday afternoon, about 50 brown flower pots at various stages in the glazing process littered the floor of the Cornell Women’s Resource Center’s (CWRC) small headquarters in the basement of The Straight.

The pots were a part of the Week Without Violence, a series of events led by CWRC that includes Tuesday night’s Flower Pot Paint n’ Plant, during which students could paint two pots at the Tatkon Center. At the end of the night, each participant gave one pot to the Advocacy Center and took one home.

The annual Take Back the Night rally and march, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow evening with a group marching from The Straight at 5 p.m., is also a part of the Week.

“Take Back the Night is designed to raise awareness on sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Heather Campbell, education director of the Advocacy Center, the lead agency and co-sponsor for the event.

The event itself is traditionally put together by the Take Back the Night Collective, which includes the Advocacy Center, CWRC and other community and campus organizations. Last year, approximately 300 people converged on the Ithaca Commons after marching from both East and South Hills as well from the Greater Ithaca Activity Center, according to Kelly Connison, director of the CWRC.

“It is very important that Cornell students join us at the march on Friday to show that we are not an isolated, disaffected community on the hill. Rather, we are engaged, concerned citizens who are affected by the same social issues as the community at large,” said Lee Strock ’05, president of Student Advocates of Domestic Violence Education and Support (DoVES), a member of the Collective.

Cornell’s organizing efforts for the march and rally are led by the CWRC.

“[The event] really helps raise awareness. It’s easy for us to become complacent. At Take Back the Night we hear women and men speak about violence in their lives, and it makes us realize how prevalent it is on campus and in the community,” Connison said.

Campbell explained that the event is especially important for the Cornell community because statistically, one in four college women will have experienced a rape or attempted rape by graduation.

“By marching to the Commons, we can reclaim the streets and give some visibility to an issue that is too often ignored or made light of. Whether from personal experience or by contact with a survivor, practically every woman I know on this campus has been touched by sexual assault. TBTN is an incredible opportunity for Cornell students of all stripes to raise their voices against violence and support each other,” said Wendy Soref ’04, a member of Students Acting for Gender Equality and of the Collective.

Archived article by Freda Ready
Sun Managing Editor