By Madeleine Thompson
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 Mens Society, Stark felt the queer mens 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. Id like [the event] to be much more inter-faith in the future, Stark said. That was something I didnt quite get the chance to do. [Queer mens discussion and Canterbury prayer pervice] were the most important. I think its great to provide even more ways [for people to get involved] without overwhelming people.
Tonights event, the womens 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 weve been sucked into?
Silverstein is excited to see how the womens 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 thats a male space, so weve always done the mens event. But this will be the first year [the womens discussion] is an established thing.
Other events included the queer womens discussion, a long-standing tradition for Take Back the Night; the queer mens discussion; supporters and survivors groups and guest speaker Latoya Peterson. Tomorrow features a meet and greet with SMAs and the Speak Out forum. The weeks 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. Its not necessarily a week of events; its a reaction to the culture.