Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Community aims to take back the night

Students+hold+candles+at+annual+Take+Back+the+Night+event+on+Oct.+17%2C+2023.+This+event+is+for+community+members+from+around+New+Orleans+to+stand+in+solidarity+of+violence+against+women.+
Sophia Renzi
Students hold candles at annual Take Back the Night event on Oct. 17, 2023. This event is for community members from around New Orleans to stand in solidarity of violence against women.

Loyola’s annual Take Back the Night event showcased community and support for survivors of sexual assault and gender based violence.

Loyola University’s 33rd annual Take Back the Night event took place on Tuesday, Oct. 17, and included attendees from the school as well as other students and faculty from Dillard University, University of New Orleans, Xavier University, and more.

According to Patricia Boyett, director of Loyola University’s Women’s Resource Center and chair of the Take Back the Night committee, the event first began at Loyola during the 1990s to raise awareness of the issue of sexual violence and as a call for justice for survivors.

However, the event is not exclusive to the Loyola community. Take Back the Night has been hosted at countless universities and organizations around the world since its original inception in the 1970s, according to Boyett.

This celebration was put on by Loyola’s Women’s Studies Program and partners from six different universities and community organizations.

The event included a range of speakers, and audience members were given the opportunity to hear from experts in the field of criminology studying gender and intimate partner violence, and university faculty who help implement structures to support survivors.

The keynote speaker of the night was a current Loyola student who gave a powerful speech on her own experience with sexual assault and the supportive community she found to help guide her past her trauma.

The night was a celebration of solidarity, leaving a number of students emotional towards the end of the event.

“It’s super emotional to hear the stories, but it’s a great cause and I’m really glad our community gets to rally together to support victims,” said mass communications senior Josie Guidry, who attended the event.

This solidarity is something Boyett says they strive to show through the event.

“We hope to demonstrate that we stand in solidarity with all survivors of all forms of gender violence, and we seek to demonstrate our commitment to raising awareness, to seeking justice for survivors, and to eliminating the patriarchal culture that fosters and perpetuates sexual violence, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and gender hate crimes,” said Boyett.

Psychology sophomore Khalessi Yousef said he believes this event has a great importance for the Loyola community.

“The Loyola community definitely benefits from this event because all the survivors get to come out with people that want to gain more knowledge about the issue, and we all just get to be together and spread positivity,” saidYousef.

Guidry said she believes this event is especially essential for not only Loyola students, but university students and faculty everywhere.

“I think in general for Loyola this event is great because college students make up a big portion of the victim statistics, so I think it’s great for college students to see us out here rallying for them and to know that they have a support system here. They have professors that are here to support them, as well as students and organizations that can rally behind them with whatever they’re going through,” said Guidry.

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