On Thursday March, 20, a cold and windy night, a handful of Chatham students lit candles after seeing Piper Kerman in the Chapel, and made their way to the labyrinth to observe the internationally held Take Back the Night Rally. What were they taking back the night from? Violence. Rape. Abuse.
Held all over the world, the concept originated in 1975 after a woman named Susan Alexander Speeth was brutally stabbed to death walking home in Philadelphia. Now forty years later women and men all over the world gather to protest violence and sexual abuse and honor those living and dead who have been subjected to such things.
Chatham has been honoring Take Back the Night for years. “It’s important for us to have Take Back the Night as it provides an opportunity for the Chatham Community to share their stories and reflect on the idea of domestic violence in all forms.” Student Affairs’ Stephanie Reynolds said in response to the question of why Chatham has Take Back the Night. Reynolds also spoke about the importance of breaking the silence surrounding domestic violence and raising awareness.
One of those stories told at the rally was that of Amelia Williams, who told her own story of the years she spent being abused by her parents. Williams spoke not only of the pain she suffered as a result of them and their respective problems with alcohol, but also of her journey to forgiveness. A journey that eventually lead to founding the Ring of Hope Campaign in 2010, which provides support to survivors of domestic violence.
Although the turnout was modest, the rally was considered a success. When asked why she braved the cold for the rally, Eir Rivera said, “I went to Take Back the Night because I think that domestic violence is more prevalent than we think and an underlying symptom of an untreated problem.”
The rally was primarily planned by first year Allison Kline who, in spite of not knowing a lot about the movement originally, became very passionate about Take Back the Night saying, “The rally went exactly as I hoped and I was excited to see the turnout and to see that people enjoyed it. If I am involved next year I hope to get more people involved.”