Shatter the Silence, Stop the Violence: Women’s Center hosts Take Back the Night

Painted T-shirts were hung up in the hallway leading towards the event as part of the Clothesline Project. The project aims to raise awareness for survivors of assault and abuse.

Weber State University’s Women’s Center held its annual “Take Back the Night” event at The Monarch venue in Ogden. The event consisted of a keynote speaker, a march, refreshments and a “speak-out.” The event was started in the 1960s and aimed to raise awareness regarding sexual violence.

The keynote speaker was award-winning author Annie Fukushima, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies, Director for the Office of Undergraduate Research and associate professor of Ethnic Studies at the School for Cultural & Social Transformation at the University of Utah.

“We try to look for a speaker who’s doing current research in the field, or is a member of the community, or maybe some kind of a nationally known person,” Paige Davies, director of the Women’s Center, said. “We typically rotate between organizations that we work with, and we try to focus the process on having a message.”

Fukushima’s presentation educated the attendees on the reality of sexual violence, and the importance of believing and supporting victims. She shared statistics and stories of people she met during her research to illustrate her point.

At the conclusion of her speech, the audience was taught chants for the march such as, “Shatter the Silence, Stop the Violence,” and “However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no,” and more.

After that, attendees gathered posters and lined up to march down Historic 25th Street. Volunteers and employees from the Women’s Center walked along the edges of the crowd, while another volunteer led the chanting at the front.

“My role here today is to support survivors and to provide a safe space where allies and survivors can come together, believe one another,” Katelynn Ewell, who works at the Women’s Center and helped execute the event, said.

Attendee Emma Blanche said the event shows survivors that the community cares about them and that everyone can help survivors overcome trauma of past events.

Once the march was completed, the crowd returned to The Monarch, where the YCC Family Crisis Center, a non-profit organization aimed at preventing domestic and sexual violence, provided refreshments.

“This is awesome to see people come together. You know, I feel like there’s healing in numbers really, when people see and feel that support, that’s a beautiful thing,” Brent Hinsley, a YCC representative, said.

The last event was a “speak-out,” where survivors and allies could share their stories in a safe and supportive space. Those who shared a personal experience received a bag with contact information for supportive resources on campus.

More than half of the audience shared their experience as survivors of assault, violence and rape. Others shared the experiences of loved ones, aiming to give a voice to someone who could not speak for themselves.

If you are experiencing or have experienced some sort of sexual trauma, the Women’s Center is available to support you. Visit the Women’s Center in Shepherd Union room 323 or call them at 801-626-6090.

SafeUT is also an available resource that offers access to counselors that can help, and can be reached at 833-3SAFEUT.