This Friday, students will move in procession across campus with candles in hand to support survivors of sexual violence.Goshen Student Women’s Association (GSWA) will be hosting Take Back the Night – an event that hopes to help the women of Goshen College reclaim their position on campus and demand safety from sexual violence for all students.
“It’s about saying that as women, we are here on campus,” said Mimi Salvador, one of the many leaders of GSWA. “And we recognize that women here come from many different cultural backgrounds. We want to acknowledge all women for who they are, and all of the risks that come with being a woman, unfortunately.”
The night will involve a procession around campus, a candlelight vigil, art through poetry and singing and the freedom for participants to say what they will in a safe space.
“It’s also a time for any person who is a victim of sexual violence to know that their story will not be forgotten and that we’re walking for them,” said Salvador. “For accountability, but also to sustain the memory and remind everyone how wrong it was. There’s absolutely no justification for [sexual violence].”
Students are encouraged to attend the event as it helps to spread awareness of sexual assault and rape on Goshen College’s campus and shows support for victims of sexual violence, both on and off campus.
When asked why students should participate, Salvador said, “Because [women] are humans…. We should be held accountable for an obligation that we have towards each other. Whether you’re a man or woman, for you to be present [at the event] shows that you’re concerned about what others have gone through and that you’re standing with them.”
The event is open to all students as there are no gender specifications. But students are asked to be aware of their role and privilege during the event.
Last year’s turnout was not as large as it had been in the past – it had been particularly cold that evening. However, in reference to Friday night, Salvador said, “I don’t know if it’s going to be cold but I think there’s a lot of human warmth that comes from being empathetic towards each other.”
Take Back the Night will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Newcomer 19 and end at 8 p.m.
“If you have the chance to come and the time to come,” said Salvador, “showing up is the least [you] can do for others.”