UMD Takes Back the Night

March and Rally held Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

DULUTH, Minn.- The UMD Campus was alive Thursday night, with rallying cries against sexual assault and domestic violence, and in support of survivors, as a group Took Back the Night.

The Kirby Ballroom abuzz with men, women and children gathered to work to end sexual and domestic violence, and reclaim the nighttime from fear and vulnerability.

“I think it’s just a very empowering space, and it’s also a space where people are able to tell their truths,” said Jade Moorse, Student Intern and one of the organizers.

“And are able to just be. Instead of, like, be terrified.”

Take Back the Night initially started in Germany in 1973, in response to a string of sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. Nowadays, the event aims to raise awareness of the sexual assault and violence facing women and LGBTQ individuals, most of which occur at night.

From the messages being spread to victims here, it seems times have not changed much since 1973.

“Violence is normalized, it’s a trend.”

Natasha Lancour’s words ring out through the ballroom. The Girls Group Coordinator at Men as Peacemakers, delivering an impassioned address, detailing encounters-gone-wrong she has seen between her students.

Signs are important in a march. But students here are making their voices heard in other ways, as well.

One is the Clothesline Project, where anyone can make a t–shirt to be displayed in spots around campus, banners carrying messages of support and hope, for those suffering from domestic violence.

“Raising awareness at UMD,” said Clothesline Project Coordinator, Sarah Minder. “I think that there’s not much awareness on college campuses about domestic violence and relationship violence.”

According to Minder, employing creativity in getting these messages out is key.

“Art is very impactful when it comes to political movements, social movements, to helping survivors heal from their trauma.”

Organizations like PAVSA were also present, ready to listen to anyone who just needed a moment aside to talk. Understandable, as emotions ran high.

Before long, crowds rallied together, arming themselves with signs, anxious to get to business.

Fearless and strong in the wintry air, the group powered along UMD’s campus, chanting cries for action:

“Hey hey, ho ho! Sexual Assault has got to go!”

And proudly parading their posters proclaiming to smash the patriarchy, some coming straight from the horse’s mouth.

A young girl rode on her mother’s shoulders, holding a sign emblazoned with a powerful message, perhaps coming more from her mother:

“Teach our daughters the power of NO!”

These bold women and men are Taking Back the Night, and they do not come quietly.

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