Victims, fellow students and community members gathered at Shippensburg University’s Old Main Chapel on April 3 in solidarity and awareness of sexual and domestic violence for the Women Center’s “Take Back the Night” (TBTN).
The event took a moment to highlight major movements to end sexual assault and violence such as #MeToo and #TimesUp.
TBTN featured survivors and activists telling their story of what happened to them, as well as information on what they could do afterward. Examples given included talking to a trusted individual, utilizing local resources and learning to love and forgive oneself.
“As it stands right now, things are not equal,” graduate student Emily Ott said.
SU Vice President of Student Affairs, Roger Serr, spoke at the event for his final time as vice president. He related his feelings of pride of the many students that showed up and took interest in such a serious topic.
“There is no place for physical or sexual assault on this campus,” Serr said.
Several students from In-Motion Dance Troupe took over the stage to perform a dance routine before continuing with speakers.
SU Student Luke Belski gave encouraging words saying it is time to end victim blaming. Belski continued by informing the audience that victims’ feelings should be made to feel validated, and that there is no right or wrong way for them to feel after being assaulted.
After the formal portion of TBTN ended, students marched across campus to the hockey rink to talk about their experiences with sexual and physical violence. Students shouted a chant along the way to encourage more people to help end the violence: “What do we want? No more violence! When do we want it? Now!”
All members of the SU community are welcome to use the Women’s Center services and resources. The Women’s Center can be found on the first floor of Horton Hall and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.