Every spring, the Puget Sound Sexuality Issues, Relationships and Gender Education sponsors the annual event Take Back the Night, a rally to raise sexual violence awareness. It is accompanied by weeklong activities and Green Dot training. This year, Puget Sound has decided to host a second rally, making Take Back the Night a semiannual event instead of an annual one.
Lindsey Conrad, SIRGE Student Coordinator, has been vital in implementing this event and offered insight on what it is, how it differs from the spring event, why there is a second one being held as well as an idea of the administrative process.
Take Back the Night, on Nov. 8, is intended for everyone. Conrad explained that it has been specifically scheduled to not interfere with those who have to attend chapter for Greek Life. Take Back the Night will focus on themes like why sexual violence happens and identify major “isms,” such as classism, racism and sexism. The event is structured to begin with a rally followed by having professors from the University of Puget Sound speak, and then transition into the second part of the night where there will be an open conversation where people can share their experiences. The November event has been in the works since September. Due to the fact that it will be held twice in one school year and the shorter time to plan for the fall event, it will be on a lower budget and a slightly smaller scale.
“In the spring we will actually bring in outside speakers. The fall one will be—I don’t want to say smaller—because in people-who-come-wise we want it to be big, but in terms of… having professors speak, we’re doing it so a lot of resources we can get from the campus,” Conrad said. “In the spring it will be significantly bigger. We usually bring in outside speakers and do a week of events. We’ll do Green Dot trainings, talks, Clothesline Projects. It is like a whole week [or] week and a half of events.”
Conrad explained why a second Take Back the Night was desired.
“By the time we put on the spring event it’s late March and we have all these people amped up to make a change and raise awareness and then two [or] two and a half months later they’re gone. We want to hold this in the fall so we can start raising awareness and talking about these important issues earlier.”
Conrad had a large role in putting on the fall event in her role as Student Sexuality and Gender Education Coordinator.
“The core planning and finding things I wanted to do such as the logistics I did, but I was always having meetings to bounce ideas back and forth. I did a lot of main coordinating but definitely bounced ideas back and forth and got approval from everyone,” Conrad said.
Additionally, the fall event will be hosting a film series organized by Conrad. The purpose of the film series is to increase awareness. Conrad explained some of the difficulties in putting on a film series, such as showing movies that have previously been played.
“The film I’m showing, The Invisible War, was shown by the Politics and Government Department. And that was a pretty large conversation in terms of do we want to show it. Is that useful? Is that effective? We decided to go ahead and do it regardless of the fact that they did a showing of it last year and discussion. It is still extremely practical. There are a ton of people that didn’t go to it. So we decided to show it again,” Conrad said.
Similarly, while this event has been long anticipated by many and has been very well received by the administration, Conrad explained that some people do not see the need to have an event that raises awareness of sexual violence because they do not see it as a prevalent problem.
“I mean it’s going to be controversial in that some people don’t agree in having the event. There will always be people that are like, ‘What’s the point? Why are we doing this? This is a waste of resources,”’ Conrad said.
Conrad addressed the fact that there is always going to be a student population that is against awareness of sexual violence.
“ASUPS was still very supportive, the administration was very supportive in general and had no qualms with offering as much help and support as they could with the event,” Conrad said.
Conrad said that she has had very few problems organizing this event and that the University seems excited to host it and raise sexual violence awareness earlier in the year.
The rally will be held on Nov. 3 at 8:30 p.m.