Take Back the Night Expands Scope of Week’s Discussion
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
Take Back the Night, a week-long student-run program that strives to open dialogue and bring awareness to community members about sexual assault, began Sunday, Sept. 23.
This year, Molly Silverstein ’13, Greg Stark ’13 and Maureen Hoff ’15 co-chaired the series of events. Stark has always been part of what he calls “feminist positive sexuality” groups, but he was not involved in planning Take Back the Night last year. As one of the founders of the Queer Men’s Society, Stark felt the queer men’s discussion, which was introduced last year, proved especially important because it established a “space for queer men to talk through their experiences.”
On Wednesday, Canterbury Kenyon, the Episcopal Campus Ministry, offered a prayer and candlelit service dedicated to survivors of sexual assault at the Church of the Holy Spirit. The Canterbury prayer service was also a focus for Stark. “I’d like [the event] to be much more inter-faith in the future,” Stark said. “That was something I didn’t quite get the chance to do. [Queer men’s discussion and Canterbury prayer pervice] were the most important. I think it’s great to provide even more ways [for people to get involved] without overwhelming people.”
Tonight’s event, the women’s discussion, will focus on the hookup culture at Kenyon. Counselor Nicole Keller, Sexual Misconduct Advisor (SMA) Emily Estus ’14 and Kelly Menzel ’15 will lead the event.
“The majority of cases of sexual misconduct at Kenyon happen during a hookup … so the kind of tagline is ‘which came first, the hookup or the culture?’” Menzel said. “Do we as individuals create this lifestyle, or is this something that we’ve been sucked into?”
Silverstein is excited to see how the women’s discussion has grown since its first appearance last year. “The conversation generally turns into ‘women are the assaulted and men are the aggressors,’ which is generally true,” Silverstein said.
“Obviously men need a place to talk about it that’s a male space, so we’ve always done the men’s event. … But this will be the first year [the women’s discussion] is an established thing.”
Other events included the queer women’s discussion, a long-standing tradition for Take Back the Night; the queer men’s discussion; supporters’ and survivors’ groups and guest speaker Latoya Peterson. Tomorrow features a meet and greet with SMAs and the “Speak Out” forum. The week’s events will end with the Light Up the Night Carnival on Ransom Lawn and the Alpha Delta Phi New Directions Fundraiser at the Village Inn.
Silverstein hopes students can be sensitive to the issues addressed by Take Back the Night and be aware of sexual misconduct on campus. “Honestly, I think Take Back the Night is never going to get old until sexual assault gets old,” Silverstein said. “It’s not necessarily a week of events; it’s a reaction to the culture.”