On April 30, colleges and universities across the country will simultaneously hold candlelight vigils on their campuses to show support for those who have experienced sexual violence and to help survivors “take back the night” their assailants took from them.
The Take Back The Night (TBTN) national organization has selected Fordham to be one of 10 campuses nationwide to serve as a Point of Light, which will hold one of these candlelight vigils and serve as a gathering place for survivors and supporters alike.
A vigil at the Lincoln Center campus will begin on the plaza at 7:30 p.m. Fordham College at Lincoln Center students will lead a presentation featuring poems and personal accounts from survivors of violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual abuse.At Rose Hill, a “Be The Light” event will focus on educating community members on bystander intervention.
“Everyone has a role and a responsibility to make sure that our community members are safe,” said Kimberly Russell, director of residential life. “I don’t see this as one type of person’s problem—I see it as a community issue. We all have things we can do to make sure our friends are safe.”
On Thursday, April 30, a banner will be displayed outside the McGinley Center (weather permitting), for students, faculty, and staff to sign in support for those who have been affected by violence.
Evening events will kick off at 8 p.m. outside the McGinley Center with a speaker, followed by a 5k “glow in the dark” run around campus. As they race toward Jack Coffey Field, participants will pass signs displaying information about intervening safely when a friend or peer seems to be in danger. In addition, Fordham’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) will be sponsoring a rock-climbing wall.
TBTN is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to ending sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse, and all other forms of sexual violence. Communities across the country hold TBTN-themed events throughout the month of April, which is sexual assault awareness month.
During the week of April 13, Fordham’s Women’s Empowerment group and the United Student Government’s (USG) sexual misconduct task force sponsored additional awareness-raising and solidarity events, including a “How to Be An Ally” discussion, a candlelight vigil, and a “Speak Out” event at which survivors of sexual violence could share their personal experiences.
The April 30 event is supported by the Office of Residential Life, the Residence Halls Association, the USG sexual misconduct task force, ROTC, the football team, and the women’s basketball team.