Ginny Winters-Troche / Special to The Recorder
People from all parts of the CCSU community came together in support of victims of sexual assault as the university hosted its nineteenth annual Take Back the Night last Wednesday night in Semesters.
An event that first took place in 1877 England as a protest against the sexual violence, Take Back the Night made its first appearance in America in 1978 when a group of people began to chant the event’s slogan after an anti-pornography conference.
“I came to support the cause, and brought along members of [the Latin American Student Organization] because abuse affects everyone,” said Inez Vera, sophomore, who is on LASO’s executive board.
Over 55 Take Back the Night events were scheduled on campuses throughout the country during the month of April.
“We’ve come every year to support this cause,” said Nicole Cylkowski of Phi Sigma Sigma.
Attendees crowded around quilts displayed across the room that had been put together by different groups during the years that CCSU has hosted the event. Each piece of the colorful quilts held a different message such as “Stop Violence”, “Shatter the Silence” or “No more Rape”.
“We saw the date for it on Facebook, and recently, a girl we knew suffered from abuse,” said CCSU senior Jessica Velardi.
Appearances were made by CCSU President Jack Miller, Student Affairs Vice President Laura Tordenti, Connecticut State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz and other anti-abuse activists such as Evelyn Miller, who also detailed her lifelong experience with sexual abuse.
Miller said she had dealt with molestation, beatings and incest that began when she was a child and lasted until she had her own daughter and finally said no to her molesters.
“I will never be a victim again, because I will never be silent again,” Miller said to conclude her speech.
Such was the mood of the night: that speaking up turns victims into survivors. Student coordinator Amy Howard began the forum portion of the evening by opening the stage, podium and microphone as an invitation for those who have also suffered from sexual abuse to share their stories, speak up, and be heard.
After minutes of the audience staring in pin-drop silence at the empty podium, a girl got up to speak. She wanted to give advice for those who were “secondhand survivors”, also known as people who had victimized loved ones. Her advice was to be patient and be present in the person’s life.
After over an hour of open podium the audience was none the thinner, with people sitting in scarcely placed chairs, squatting on the floor, standing around the room, while victims stood up and turned themselves into survivors by telling their stories and “shattering the silence” in honor of the night’s theme.
Amy Howard, the Ruthe Boyea Women’s Center, and all else who were involved in the Take Back the Night event would like everyone to understand that there is help available.
Ruthe Boyea Women’s Centre is located in the Student Center, 215, 860-832-1655.
Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, 24 hours hotline – 1-888-999-5545.