A vigil and march to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence on campus took place Friday night on Krach Lawn.
“Take Back the Night,” which included opportunities for students and survivors of domestic violence to share their stories and march through campus, was held by the Feminist Action Coalition for Today club.
FACT educates students on the topic of sexual and relationship violence in the hopes it will create to a safer campus.
“College-aged students are the people who are going to more likely experience some sort of assault,” said Claire Glenn, the president of FACT and a junior in the College of Agriculture. “If people become educated on this topic, our hope is that this campus can become a bit safer.”
The crowd at the event was full of survivors and people who wanted to show their support for those who have endured violence.
“I haven’t had that experience (of assault),” said Annie Peters, a senior in the College of Engineering. “I’m here to support others who have gone through that terrible experience, and knowing how to support them is important to me.”
Activist Tatjana Rebelle read some of her poetry on her personal experiences with sexual and physical abuse.
She shared her story along with words of encouragement to the crowd.
“I’m not only an artist and an activist,” Rebelle said. “I am living proof that you can go from surviving to thriving.”
The message Rebelle said she wants students to take from the event is to seek the help they need.
“I hope people get help,” she said. “I would like for anyone that’s experienced (assault) to actually use the resources around them to overcome it and inspire change from within.”
The event also had student survivors share their stories with the crowd. If students didn't want to share with the crowd, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Center for Advocacy Response and Education were at the event for students to seek out to share their stories private setting.
Before the march began, there was a glow stick rally, where students snapped their glow sticks if one of the statements read off pertained to them.
Some of the statements were “I have been a victim of sexual violence” and “I know someone who has been affected by domestic or sexual violence.”
The sound of glow sticks snapping was heard with each statement read.
The march started at Krach Leadership Center and wound around the most of the residential campus, including Cary Quadrangle and many Greek houses.
During the march, students chanted sayings like, “Take back the day, take back the night — claim our bodies, claim our rights,” and “No means no, it doesn’t mean maybe, don’t touch me, I’m not your baby.”
Some students shouted at the marchers from their windows in Cary Quadrangle, but that only made those marching chant louder.
“It’s important that if they yell at you, that you ignore them and chant louder,” Glenn said.
Rachael Knieser, a junior in the College of Science, said the march was a great way for students to show unity for those who have experienced this type of violence and aggression.
“It’s great to show people that have been through this that they are not alone,” Knieser said. “This event builds a community for survivors to show that people do care and believe them.”