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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Hosts first ever Take Back the Night event

In the past, TBTN events held at Marquette have been organized by faculty and students. However, this was the first time a Marquette-affiliated organization has held a TBTN event.

Take Back the Night started as a movement to fight for women’s safety, but has evolved into an international organization that strives to end sexual violence for all genders. The Center for Student Wellness and Health Promotion at Marquette held a TBTN event on the evening of Oct. 26 in the Alumni Memorial Union. 

In the past, TBTN events held at Marquette have been organized by faculty and students. However, this was the first time a Marquette-affiliated organization has held a TBTN event.

The Center for Student Wellness and Health staff spoke about shared resources that are available for anyone dealing with sexual violence. This was led by a candlelight vigil, in which the lights were dimmed, and there were a couple minutes of silence. For the remainder of the event, survivors of sexual violence had the opportunity to share their own stories. 

“It’s important to hold events like this to hold space for people to feel comfortable, share stories and receive information for themselves and others,” Estelle Welhouse, victim advocate for the Center for Student Wellness and Health promotion, said. 

Welhouse said the Center for Student Wellness and Health had been planning to hold a TBTN event since the Student Wellness and Health organization started at Marquette last year. 

“College campuses could use these events to acknowledge what some people have experienced,” Welhouse said. 

Jenny Fierro-Padilla, event coordinator for the Center for Student Wellness and Health, said that the hope from this event is to show support for those dealing with sexual violence. 

“We hope people feel a sense of community. We want people to know we’re here,” Fierro-Padilla said. 

After the coordinators of the event introduced themselves and shared resources available regarding sexual violence, survivors had the opportunity to take the stage. 

Beth Pennell, a women’s empowerment and selflove coach in Milwaukee, said that talking about her experience with sexual violence has helped her. 

“Sharing my story allows me to come to a full circle, and realize there is healing,” Pennell said. 

Charlie McClintock, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences studying psychology, said events like TBTN are important for both the survivors and other individuals.  

“For survivors, a system and environment of support should be encouraged. For others, this creates an opportunity to become aware,” McClintock said.

McClintock said that events at Marquette seeking to spread awareness on ending sexual violence have greatly impacted him.  

“I’ve heard people’s stories, [and] it’s changed my understanding, making me realize how common and severe it is,” McClintock said.

 TBTN is an international movement that began in the 19th century. 

The first organized TBTN event was held by women to protest more safety while walking along the streets at night. However, TBTN events surged in the 1970s during the second wave of feminism. TBTN mass protests were especially common in the ’70s due to many places around the U.S. experiencing violence towards women.

Examples of this movement can be anywhere from a protest to spreading information on resources available regarding sexual violence. When TBTN began, women at the University of Southern Florida dressed as witches and protested on their college campus. Their goal was for university officials to implement a women’s center.

The University of Milwaukee Student Wellness and Health Center, the Women’s Resource Center and Women’s and Gender studies at UW-Milwaukee have held TBTN events throughout the past few years. They held an event this year on Oct. 24.

The TBTN event at Marquette strived to give survivors of sexual violence the opportunity to become informed on the resources provided at Marquette in the case that someone is experiencing sexual violence. Counseling services, assistance with filing a criminal complaint and being accompanied to the hospital were a few resources provided. 

McClintock believes in the power of taking action to create awareness for the possibility and severity of sexual violence for individuals at Marquette.

“We can do more. Anyone can do more,” McClintock said. 

A 24/7 confidential hotline for dating violence, sexual violence, harassment and stalking can be reached at (414)-288-5244.

This story was written by Olivia Stanley. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Olivia Stanley, News Multimedia Journalist
Olivia Stanley is a first-year student from Two Rivers, Wisconsin. She is studying journalism and political science and is a news multimedia journalist for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire she enjoys reading, traveling, and running. Olivia is excited to learn more about multimedia journalism and the Marquette Wire as a whole during her first year at Marquette.

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