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College to host student-led Take Back the Night event Nov. 6

Barry McNamara
10/30/2018
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College students are doing much of the organizing for this year’s Take Back the Night event, which will be Nov. 6.

“This year’s event is entirely student-led,” said Monmouth Title IX Coordinator Stephanie Kinkaid, who said the heavy lifting is being done by students who serve as Title IX peer educators. “I’m excited to see how the students want to see this event done.”

Part of a nationwide effort to call attention to sexual assault and violence by speaking out and rallying against it, the Monmouth event will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 on Dunlap Terrace, directly outside the Stockdale Student Center. The event is open to the public.

“Take Back the Night is truly a time for our campus to come together and support survivors of sexual assault,” said senior Kaitlyn Rule of Geneseo, Ill., one of the student organizers. “It is on every single student and faculty and staff member to understand the magnitude of assault on college campuses and to do their part in preventing it at Monmouth. I am proud to be part of an event that recognizes the importance of awareness.”

History of Take Back the Night

Kinkaid said what eventually became known as the Take Back the Night movement started in Europe in the 1960s. In the United States, the Take Back the Night Foundation came together around the start of this century, largely through the leadership of Katie Koestner, whose story about date rape on a U.S. college campus in the early 1990s helped raise public awareness about the issue.

“Take Back the Night gives the victims the right platform for them to share their stories,” said sophomore student organizer Raman Mohan of Accra, Ghana. “It is important to note that men are also victims of sexual assault. As a representative for the male population on campus, I would like to invite all men to come and show their support.”

The mission of Take Back the Night is to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives. The platform seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all forms of sexual violence. Take Back the Night events have been held in at least 36 countries and more than 30 million people have been reached, according to Kinkaid.

Monmouth has held several Take Back the Night events, including each of the past three years, but this is the first one that Kinkaid has overseen in her role as Title IX coordinator.

“Any story shared during this event is not considered an official report to the Title IX office,” she said. “This is a therapeutic event and is exempt from mandatory reporting. A counselor (from Victim Services, part of the Western Illinois Regional Council) will be present for anyone needing support.”

Senior Natalie Curtis of Arlington Heights, Ill., is also helping to organize this year’s Take Back the Night event. She said participants can engage at a variety of levels.

“Take Back the Night gives survivors and supporters the opportunity to walk together and speak out against sexual assault,” she said. “The event is open to all levels of participation, which allows for individuals to use the experience for healing in their own ways.”