Take Back the Night is an international organization that EMU supports every year. It is a series of events to make many forms of abuse aware to everyone on campus. For four nights, there were different events in which students could partake.
Last Monday, “NO! The Rape Documentary” was shown in Strite conference room. The room was occupied by lots of students, who were all girls except for one male student. The video focused on stories of African-American womens’ experiences with violence. When the movie was finished, Sarah Defnall, a recent Psychology and Counseling graduate from EMU, stayed afterward to be a mentor to anyone who needed to talk.
On Tuesday, students gathered together to hear selected professors answer questions. It was a time for students to hear what their professors thought or felt about certain incidents, or answer questions that troubled students’ minds. Students submitted all the questions for the night.
At yesterday’s chapel, Joanne Gallardo, an associate campus pastor, shared a message pertaining to the week’s events of TBTN. Gallardo became emotional as she shared her personal story. When she finished, Lauren Dixon, Nicole Groff, and Ellen Roth, Juniors, performed an interpretive dance for students to have a time of reflection before being dismissed.
Last night could have been the most emotional for everyone; it was an open microphone opportunity in Common Grounds. Many students and faculty came to support the event. It was a safe environment for anyone who was willing to share his or her story.
Many students took advantage of the opportunity to share their stories at the open microphone. Students wrote poems or told stories about verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and other types of abuse or rape. No one was forced to tell their story, but many chose to tell their story because they felt, in their hearts, a need to share.
After the open microphone event, counselors were available to talk to those in need. Students also opened doors to hurting peers by offering them a pair of listening ears. Several in attendance took those opportunities.
Junior Laura Glick and Dixon led Take Back the Night. Together, they organized the week’s events. The last event, a Candle Lighting and Debriefing, will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the fountain.
-Chelsea Harshbarger, Staff Writer