Nearly 200 students gathered in the Grove Wednesday night for Rebels Against Sexual Assault’s “Take Back the Night” event honoring sexual assault victims and survivors in the Ole Miss community.
Take Back the Night is an international organization that has held survivor support events since the 1960s. The organization’s mission is to end all types of sexual violence. There are now more than 30 countries and more than 600 campuses across the country which hold Take Back the Night events.
Junior psychology and Spanish major Cayla Hari said through Take Back the Night, RASA can help people who feel alone understand they have others who care about them.
“It’s really common for people to ostracize themselves after terrible things happen, and it’s a natural instinct,” Hari said. “We really want to come together as a group and encourage that message. Things like this foster a sense of community and a sense of knowing that you’re not alone.”
Freshman international studies major Rachel Culp said she attended the event because campus sexual assault is a nationwide issue.
“It’s really important to me to show support for people that have been victims of [assault], as well as getting the word out and promoting awareness,” Culp said.
Freshman chemical engineering major Catherine Teh attended the event as a part of University Police Department’s self-defense class. UPD Chief Tim Potts asked the class to attend Take Back the Night to promote the LiveSafe app, which allows students to monitor their friends’ locations on campus and directly contact UPD.
“It’s a great app if you go a lot of places alone and you don’t feel safe,” Teh said.
Hari said she encourages sexual assault survivors to be courageous and take advantage of help that is offered.
“It’s scary. It’s terrifying. It’s so terrifying,” Hari said. “It’s so easy to feel like you are alone because it’s not something we talk about openly. I think you owe it to yourself to step out of your comfort zone and see what the rest of the world has to offer you. That’s not awful.”