By Brianna Williams, Staff Writer —
On Wednesday, Oct. 17, UTC students and Chattanooga community members gathered on Chamberlain field to take a stand against sexual, gender-based, and power-based violence.
Take Back the Night was hosted by UTC’s Center for Women and Gender Equity and CASE, the Coalition Advocating for Student Empowerment.
The event began with campus and community tabling, where tables such as the Rape Crisis Center, Sexual Assault Victims Advocacy Center, and UTC counseling center set up to provide assistance for victims or to educate and inform other participants on different aspects of sexual assault and violence.
In addition to these informational tables, the campus and community tabling also included music, poster making, a bonfire, free pizza and drinks.
One of the members set up at the community tabling event was Esther Carter, recent UTC alumna and victim advocate at the Sexual Assault Victims Advocacy Center in Georgia, who said that a major reason why the event is so important is that it allows for education on the subject.
“I think part of the problem behind sexual assault and violence is that people aren’t educated… it’s important that they know how to handle that situation and realize that it is a huge issue that affects a large amount of people in our society,” Carter said.
UTC sophomore Aubrie Taylor, who was set up at the Planned Parenthood table, agreed that awareness and education of violence and sexual assault is important.
“The age group that is in college right now is gonna be the next generation, so it’s important to start educating people and letting them educate themselves early,” Taylor said.
Following the campus and community tabling, the event had a general welcome and keynote, a march through the campus, and ended with a candlelight vigil for those who have fallen from violence.
Volunteers at the event handed out words to a chant that were recited during the march, containing lines such as “Stop the silence, no more violence,” and “We have the power, we have the right, the streets are ours, take back the night.”
President of Sexperts, a campus organization focused on being sex health educators, Victoria Minor stressed that UTC is lucky to have an event like Take Back the Night, where survivors and other community members are able to come together to share and learn more about violence and assault.
“I’m just really happy that folks in the center for women and gender equity are doing this super necessary work. I’m so grateful for this, and I don’t think they get the praise and recognition that they deserve for putting on events like this and creating safe spaces for survivors,” Minor said.