CONTENT WARNING: This article contains mentions of sexual and domestic violence. Please use caution before reading.
SRU’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) partnered with several organizations to host their annual Take Back the Night rally on Friday, Nov. 4. The event featured speakers, stories, a march across campus and a candlelight vigil to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual and domestic violence.
This year, the club appointed two student speakers to talk about their experiences with crimes of that nature. FMLA e-board members read several more anonymous student stories out loud.
Over 111 students registered for the event on CORE, and even more were present at the actual rally. Numerous student organizations attended, as well as faculty members and non-student citizens of Slippery Rock.
“I believe we reached out to every single campus organization,” said FMLA Vice President Meg Nassif. “We even reached out to the different departments on campus to see if anyone wanted to co-sponsor.”
The Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Writing department (LLCW) co-sponsored, along with larger organizations like the Student Government Association (SGA). Smaller co-sponsoring clubs included Geek Life, Winter Guard and College Progressives.
“We also had two fraternities sponsoring us, which I think is especially powerful,” Nassif said. “We had so many different organizations coming together to fight for justice.”
Donations from co-sponsors went to the Victim Outreach Intervention Center, or VOICe.
“[VOICe is] the sole provider for help with this kind of thing in the Butler area,” Nassif said.
Students and other community members also had opportunities to donate. FMLA accepted donations in the form of cash and Venmo. All proceeds went to VOICe.
“It looks like it will be a sizeable donation so far,” Nassif said, though the total had not been calculated as of this article being written.
Nassif emphasized the importance of events like Take Back the Night on college campuses.
“I read that college-age people of all genders are more likely to be sexually assaulted than those of different age groups,” she said. “Unfortunately on a college campus, there’s a lot of opportunities for these kinds of bad things to happen…We recognize that it’s not a super fun topic to talk about, but it’s necessary.”
If you or someone you know has experienced issues with sexual assault or domestic violence, there is help available 24/7 at the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233). You can also contact VOICe by visiting their website at www.voicebutlercounty.org.