On Nov. 8, students will be able to join the MacCurdy House in an international event known as Take Back the Night, a march that unites students against all forms of sexual violence. The march starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m., with refreshments available at the MacCurdy House after the march until 8 p.m.
Sexual violence has been a problem across the world for a long time. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes. Thanks to the initiative of the MacCurdy House, Alma College students are able to come together to unite against the issue through peaceful forms of marches, walks, and protests.
“Take Back the Night is a movement meant to raise awareness and help to end sexual violence and violence against women, as well as other marginalized groups,” said Kayla Schmitz (’21). “Its focus is on the nighttime because it originated from a microbiologist, Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed to death walking back to her home at night in Philadelphia in 1975.”
“This sparked the conversation of women’s safety in the night, which eventually became women’s safety overall, and now also focuses on safety of marginalized groups in general,” said Schmitz.
The issue of sexual violence is a problem that hits close to home for many students and faculty on campus. “This experience means to me personally to just have a group of people on campus come together to support an issue that hits close to home. I’m sure it hits close to home for many people on campus. Our campus may be small, but there are still dangers, especially at night,” said Schmitz.
“Activism is so important because it starts a discussion. Even if nothing concrete happens, the discussion it sparks makes it so that this issue of women’s rights is not forgotten,” said Clara Beck (’22). “It needs to be an ongoing discussion, not one that begins and ends when something horrible happens or someone has the courage to stand up and say that they’ve been assaulted or made to feel uncomfortable being a female in this world.”
“As a woman, this event means less fear. I don’t think that I will ever know no fear in this lifetime while walking alone at night or even alone in general in certain situations,” said Beck. “When I’m walking somewhere in the dark and I’m alone, even somewhere as safe as Alma, I either have pepper spray and a personal alarm, or I’m on the phone with someone so that if something happens to me, someone knows that it has happened right away rather than hours later.”
Although sexual violence is an issue for many students on campus, it doesn’t have to be to participate in the march. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to take part and show their support for the event.
“While I personally have never experienced a sexual assault situation, I learned and talked about Take Back the Night a lot last semester for COM 111 because all three of my speeches were on feminism,” said Katie Bailey (’22).
The march is welcomed as an opportunity to bring people together and show others that they are not alone. “It brings people together to promote a cause they are passionate about,” said Sarah Sheathelm (’22).
“Seeing people come to Take Back the Night, standing up and speaking up against this issue as a collective, feels amazing, because it is a reflection of how we are not alone, and there are allies everywhere,” said Schmitz.
Prior to the march, students can go to the MacCurdy House for Mac and Movies, where students can hang out at the house, eat macaroni and cheese, and watch Tuca and Bertie, as well as make posters. Anyone and everyone are encouraged to attend both this pre-event and the march itself.
To learn more about the movement or learn how to get involved, visit takebackthenight.org or contact the MacCurdy House.