Western Courier

Fight for rights at night

Students+gather+outside+of+Sherman+Hall+before+marching+through+the+streets+of+Macomb+during+the+26th+annual+Take+Back+the+Night+event.
Students gather outside of Sherman Hall before marching through the streets of Macomb during the 26th annual Take Back the Night event.

Students gather outside of Sherman Hall before marching through the streets of Macomb during the 26th annual Take Back the Night event.

Rachael Keating

Rachael Keating

Students gather outside of Sherman Hall before marching through the streets of Macomb during the 26th annual Take Back the Night event.

Savannah Whitley

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On Oct. 22, 2015, Macomb residents and Western Ilinois University students rallied to bring awareness to and fight against domestic and sexual violence at the 26th annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) event. After the rally, the crowd marched from Sherman Hall to Chandler Park where the second part of the rally commenced with more speakers and supporters.

“TBTN is a march and rally about awareness, empowerment and the chance to visibly fight against sexual assault and other forms of gender and power-based interpersonal violence,” said Women’s Center Director Janine Cavicchia. “It’s an opportunity for people to speak out against dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; and for offices, agencies and organizations that provide prevention efforts and survivor-support services to inform participants about their resources.”

There were a slew of tables before the actual event took place from resources and services provided here on campus. The tables included Alcohol and Other Drug Resource Center, Center for the Study of Masculinities, Feminist Action Alliance, Hotline, UNITY, Office of Public Safety, Student Development Office, University Counseling Center, Western Illinois Regional Council – Community Action Agency (WIRC-CAA) Victim Services, Western Against Slavery, Women’s Center and Women’s Studies Student Association.

As people filtered in to look at the tables and prepare for the rally, the Women’s Center passed out Take Back the Night pamphlets, which included an itinerary with chants and useful information about abuse and how to stop it.

“(The most beneficial part is) gaining awareness, empowerment and the chance to visibly fight against sexual assault and other forms of gender and power-based interpersonal violence,” Cavicchia said.

The first half of the rally started at 7 p.m. as Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas and Macomb Mayor Michael Inman proclaimed the day to be “Take Back the Night Day.”

Soon after, survivors and support services took the mic to inform the crowd about domestic and sexual abuse.

The emotional crowd watched as survivors opened up and told their stories of survival
and resilience.

Each audience member lit their candles that they were given and marched through the streets of Macomb shouting chants such as “Claim our bodies, claim our rights! Take a stand, take back the night!” and “No matter how we dress, no matter where we go, yes means yes and no means no!”

As the hundreds of protesters fought for safe streets with only candle lights and voices, spectators watched in awe as the crowd past them.

After the march, the crowd rallied for the final time for special performances, including a poem by John Conteras and Melinda Daniel and a belly dancing performance by the Banat Casa Blanca Student Dance Troupe.

“It’s good to see so many people from different communities and different walks of life coming together for a cause that is so important,” Daniel said. “This (event) is important. This is what matters. You need to support your fellow community members, your fellow students and if nothing else gain awareness about what is going on out there in the world.”

This event started in 1989 when staff members from the Student Development Office, the Women’s Center, University Counseling Center and WIRC-Victim Services formed a coordinating committee to hold a week-long series of rape awareness programs on campus, culminating in the march and rally.

Western holds one of the largest Take Back the Night events in the state of Illinois and has been known to bring more than 600 individuals together to combat abuse.

“This is something really special and powerful,” said Kaysi Vice, a freshman clinical laboratory science major. “This is my first year here at Western, but I wish I would have got more involved in helping (plan the event). I can’t wait to be a part of this
next year.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Fight for rights at night