Take Back the Night Week promotes awareness about sexual violence on-campus
Georgetown University Take Back The Night (GUTBTN), a student advocacy group committed to the fight against gendered violence, is hosting a week of engaging events and activities as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
A powerful event titled It Happens Here, an anonymous sharing of stories provided by sexual assault survivors, will take place tomorrow night in McShain Lounge. Take Back the Night President Sarah Rabon (COL ’16) told Vox that this event is one of the most compelling that she has ever attended at Georgetown because these are real stories of real people.
“It Happens Here is a way of taking the idea of sexual assault on college campuses out of the abstract, and lets us better understand the experiences of survivors of sexual assault in the Georgetown community,” she said. “It confronts us with the work left to be done in terms of sexual assault at Georgetown. Many of the stories shared are often about assaults from fellow Hoyas in recent months or years.”
On Friday, the Hoya Health Hut, Georgetown University Sexual Assault Peer Educators (SAPE), and the University Women’s Center will be standing in solidarity from 12 to 3 pm in Red Square for Georgetown’s Denim Day 2015.
In the late 1990s, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a rapist because the survivor of the attack was wearing tight jeans. “The rationale was that since the jeans were tights, she must have both removed her jeans herself and given consent,” Rabon said. “This illogical, ridiculous ruling sparked outcry and protest.”
Demin Day was thus established in response to this ruling to serve as a reminder to the international community that there is never an excuse for rape. “We wear denim on denim day to remember that the perpetrator is always to blame for assault, and that the actions and attire of a survivor should never be considered an excuse for the perpetrator’s action,” she said.
Rabon is optimistic that the Georgetown community is growing increasingly more receptive to these important dialogues about sexual assault. “These conversations and issues can be incredibly difficult to confront,” she said. “It has been inspiring to see an increase at attendance at events related to sexual assault on campus in the past few years.”
However, she does believe that more can be done on campus to promote greater involvement and further initiate discussions about gendered violence. “It is not always easy or comfortable to work on these issues, but the work is still worth doing,” Rabon said.
Photo: Georgetown University Take Back the Night via Facebook