With one in five women reporting that they have been raped during their time at college, GW’s Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) decided to take action. SASA has spent months preparing to educate the GW community through their Take Back the Night event.
Take Back the Night is a three-day event running from April 2-4 and is used to raise awareness about domestic violence both on campus and nationwide. Through campus wide activities, SASA engaged a variety of student groups. “Over 33 student organizations took a pledge to stand up against domestic violence,” said SASA president Matt Scott.
To kick off Take Back the Night, SASA hosted an event on Wednesday that encouraged student groups and departments to display a purple ribbon with their name on it. Each ribbon represented a group within the community that wants to work together to prevent domestic violence on campus.
SASA also hosted “The Power of Art,” Take Back the Night’s first ever open-mic night. Throughout the night, students danced, sang and expressed their ways of healing and empowerment through various art forms.
Robyn Di Giacinto expressed her feelings towards rape and domestic violence through the use of spoken word poetry. “When did no become a dirty word,” asked Di Giacinto. While still untitled, her poem spoke about empowerment and speaking out when you see something is wrong or need help.
While Take Back the Night raises awareness for domestic violence, it also shows that survivors are not alone. Fitting to this theme, Jen Stutman spoke about the importance of sharing experiences. “It’s worth it to talk about,” said Stutman, who also helped out with the group’s event on Thursday.
While the open-mic night was a success, students were asked to walk the walk on Thursday. Stutman met with 55 men from different fraternities last week to talk about taking a physical stand against domestic violence. The walk a mile in her shoes event gives men the chance to walk around University Yard in heels. “It is a funny but educational event,” said Scott.
Take Back the Night ends Friday in Kogan Plaza with an event surrounding the topic of consent. Yes! The Sex-Positive Consent Celebration will have food, games and celebrates healthy relationships.
SASA encourages victims of sexual assault to reach out to GW’s Sexual Assault Response Consultative Team and the DC Rape Crisis Center for help at any time.