From “The Vagina Monologues” to the Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series, Chatham has a plethora of traditions that celebrate and encourage the empowerment of women. In time for Women’s History Month, one of those honorable upcoming traditions is the annual Take Back the Night Rally.
What are 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, which has long been considered a safe space for women, has always supported Take Back the Night rallies.
“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,” said Student Affairs Stephanie Reynolds. “A time honored tradition as a part of the rally has been survivors sharing their stories.”
Reynolds also spoke about the importance of breaking the silence surrounding domestic violence and raising awareness adding, “This is a unique occasion for us to come together to share stories and experiences as well as to increase awareness of an issue that isn’t often talked about.”
To quote Andrea Dworkin from “The Night and Danger,” “Women are often told to be extra careful and take precautions when going out at night. In some parts of the world, even today, women are not allowed out at night. So when women struggle for freedom, we must start at the beginning by fighting for freedom of movement, which we have not had and do not now have. We must recognize that freedom of movement is a precondition for anything else. It comes before freedom of speech in importance because without it freedom of speech cannot in fact exist.”
Student Affairs as always has been organizing the event and allowing students to take a hands on approach to tailoring the rally to their views.
Over the past week and in the days leading up the rally, the student organizers will be tabling in Anderson. At these tables anyone interested will be allowed to create posters for the event itself.
The rally will also serve as a drive for an organization called On The Spot, a Pittsburgh based non-profit dedicated to making sure girls who are in the foster care system have access to the sanitary products all women and girls of a certain age require. The organization works with Planned Parenthood to supply schools with pads and tampons to hand out to girls who find themselves, as the title would suggest, on the spot.
The rally will be held on March 3 at 8:30 p.m. on the Old Quad between Welker and Falk.