Take Back the Night Event April 27

Student organizer Mackenzie Longo '23, said that everyone can benefit from attending to educate themselves on how to advocate for those who have experienced interpersonal, sexual and domestic violence.
three women wearing purple T-shirts standing in front of large silver balloon letters T-B-T-N
Take Back the Night, an annual event presented by The University of Scranton Jane Kopas Women's Center, brings awareness to interpersonal, sexual and domestic violence. The event will take place Thursday, April 27, according to Student Coordinator Mackenzie Longo '23,shown above right, at last year's Take Back the Night event, with Samantha Gurn, graduate assistant for the Jane Kopas Women’s Center, and Ashley Walker '22.

By: Claire Sunday, '23, student correspondent

mackenzie_tbtn-1.jpgMackenzie Longo ’23, believes Take Back the Night, an event that brings awareness to interpersonal, sexual and domestic violence, is crucial on any college campus. The senior Occupational Therapy major from Holbrook, New York explains what inspires her to dedicate her time as student coordinator for this year’s event at The University of Scranton, which will take place on April 27 at The University of Scranton.

“I would encourage everyone to attend Take Back the Night at least once to educate themselves to properly advocate for those who have experienced these forms of violence,” Longo said. “It is a powerful event full of emotion and strength.”

What can attendees expect?

Longo outlined the evening’s events, which she said will begin Thursday on campus with a Pre-Rally from 5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m. at the Dionne Green, with a focus on advocacy and education. It continues with a march to downtown Scranton from 7:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. that ends at the Alumni Memorial Green. A Speak Out, where people are free to share their stories and experiences, begins there at 7:30 p.m., followed by a candlelight  vigil.

“(At the Speak Out) No one is forced to talk, and it is a confidential event, meaning it is exempt from Title IX and your story cannot be shared with anyone. This part is incredibly powerful, and it is a time to be heard and supported by your peers. Once everyone who wants to speak is done sharing, we end the night with a candlelight vigil,” Longo said.

She references the University policy regarding Title IX, which provides that every employee (except those specifically identified as a “confidential” resource) who receives information of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct involving a student as a complainant, respondent or witness, is required to share all relevant details (obtained directly or indirectly) with the Title IX Coordinator to allow the University to respond promptly and equitably to eliminate the prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

This is Longo’s second year as a volunteer with the event; previously she contributed her efforts as a co-leader of the program’s marketing committee.

An event with international roots

Take Back the Night's began in Europe in the 1970s as a stand against violence inflicted on women,  according to Longo, In 1975 in Philadelphia, the event took place in the United States for the first time. The University of Scranton includes Take Back the Night as a central part of programming as presented by the Jane Kopas Women's Center. To make the event possible, preparations for Take Back the Night begin in February, said Longo, such as contacting volunteers and organizations, and creating public awareness.

“This is our biggest event of the year, so we all have a hand in putting its pieces together. Without them, this event could not run.” said Longo, of the Jane Kopas Women’s Center staff and the many on campus who help create awareness and support the event, including faculty, staff, athletic teams and coaches, the IT team and Counseling Training Center. 

“I believe this event is crucial on any college campus. It gives everyone an opportunity to share, with no room for judgement from others. It gives so many people a platform to feel heard and understood... It is also an opportunity to support those around you and learn how to advocate for all individuals with these experiences.”

Interested in supporting the event?

Anyone interested in supporting Take Back the Night, is invited to share news of the event and volunteer at educational table sits during the pre-rally activities. Individuals can also plan ahead for next year and be part of the event’s initial process next February.


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