In honor of Sexual Assault Awarness Month, Take Back the Night is hosting seven events starting Tuesday and continuing through April 22 with the goal of creating safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.
Lucy Resar, co-president of Take Back the Night and third-year College student, said Take Back the Night members are given freedom in deciding what events they are going to host.
“Every fall, we send out possible events we have done in the past and also give students the opportunity to create their own event,” Resar said. “From there, we select co-chairs to oversee a specific event and then plan guest speakers, activities, locations, and/or groups to collaborate with.”
Lela Trainer, co-president of Take Back the Night and second-year College student, said that as a first-year student, Trainer knew she wanted to be a part of the club because her parents were involved with Take Back the Night when they were undergraduates at the University.
“I joined the organization as a first year and immediately found a group of like-minded people dedicated to furthering change on Grounds and in the greater Charlottesville community,” Trainer said.
The first event will take place Tuesday from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Minor Hall and is a discussion about healthy masculinity. The event will explore the concept of masculinity and healthy gender expression. Lisa Speidel, assistant professor of women, gender and sexuality, will speak at the event and attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions.
Resar got involved with TBTN her first-year as co-chair of this event and has remained in the club ever since.
“I felt that Take Back the Night was a really empowering organization where I could work towards educating myself and others about healthy gender expression, sexual violence prevention and respectful relationships,” Resar said.
The second event is a candlelight vigil this Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the amphitheater. The goal of the Vigil is to create an environment where survivors of sexual assault or domestic abuse as well as friends, allies and community members can share experiences and offer support. Take Back the Night organizers are encouraging survivors who feel comfortable to submit their interest in speaking or sharing before the event to an anonymous form. Resar said that the Vigil is the most heavily attended event, bringing in over 100 attendees last year.
Another popular event is Take Back the Bar, which will occur Saturday from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Crozet, which had to be canceled the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Take Back the Bar invites survivors of domestic or sexual abuse to reclaim a traditional bar as a safe space to enjoy, and any proceeds generated will go towards the Sexual Assault and Resource Agency, which offers free, confidential services to people of all ages and genders who have experienced sexual violence.
“This is an opportunity to create a welcoming and fun environment for everyone, all the while raising money for the Sexual Assault Resource Agency through wristband sales,” Resar said.
A Title IX Alternatives and Reporting event will take place April 11 from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. in Dell 105 and will teach attendees about how to report a Title IX violation and about alternatives to Title IX reporting for those who feel uncomfortable reporting their assault.
The Communities of Color event will be held April 14 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the amphitheater and includes a speaker panel that will discuss sexual assault and domestic violence issues faced by people of color.
A Pride Festival and Picnic, on April 16 at 1 p.m. at Nameless Field will provide attendees with free resources on sexual assault faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community and an open microphone available to all who share to wish their experiences or thoughts. All proceeds from this event will go towards combating domestic violence in LGBTQ+ communities.
The group’s final event is the Day of Healing April 22, which is designed to teach forms of healing from sexual assault and the importance of self-care. The location for the final event remains undetermined, but the day will include snacks on the Lawn from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and a free yoga class at 4 p.m.