Reclaiming bodies, reclaiming the night at Take Back the Night


Hannah Renton

Students from campus organizations gathered with signs and candles to show their support for sexual assault victims. The event has been going on for the past 27 years. Photo credit: Hannah Renton

Olivia Ledet

Most nights on St. Charles Avenue are defined by revving cars and the hum of the streetcar line, but on Oct. 24 flickering candles and chants punctuated the streets with one purpose: to take back the night.

Take Back the Night is an event held on Loyola’s campus every October for the past 27 years that advocates for an end to sexual and gender-specific violence while partnering with local universities for a peaceful protest.

All of the New Orleans community was welcome to participate in the event led by Loyola, Dillard, Tulane, Xavier, University of New Orleans and Our Lady of Holy Cross College.

“We think it’s important to spread awareness in every community so that you know what steps to take and who you can rely on,” said Marley Lee, biology freshmen at Dillard University.

Tania Tetlow, university president and a legal expert on domestic violence and sexual assault, was the opening speaker.

“Your strength and your resilience takes my breath away and is what has fueled me for so many years of doing this type of work so thank you,” Tetlow said.

The candlelight vigil began at the horseshoe outside of Marquette Hall while the Genesis Gospel Choir sang and the vigil ended in Qatar Ballroom on Tulane’s campus with a speak-out session where the floor was open to anyone who wanted to speak.

Stephanie Boyd, Loyola Class of 2018 and survivor of sexual assault was the keynote speaker.

“We can all do better and for the sake of compassion we must do better,” said Boyd as she ended her testimony.

Tabitha Richardson, mathematics senior, said the event facilitates critical conversations.

“Ultimately, Take Back the night is an amazing way to showcase to people that this generation won’t tolerate the silence that has been forced on many survivors due to stigma,” said Tabitha Richardson, mathematics senior.