“However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes, and no means no!”
This was just one of the many chants shouted by those who attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Take Back the Night rally (TBTN) on Thursday.
The rally was hosted by UNO’s Women’s Resource Center and the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.
TBTN is an international event hosted on campuses all over the world, with the same message to bring awareness to violence against women and stand in solidarity with survivors, according to the foundation’s website.
“The march was really for people to see us and know that we aren’t letting sexual assault get swept under the rug,” said Sydney Rogers-Morrell, a participant and UNO student.
The TBTN Foundation began in the early 2000s as a way for people across the world to shine a light on the violence against women and come together.
In its early years, the foundation served as a way for supporters to share ideas on hosting events, but it has since grown, according to the organizations website. Today, TBTN has sponsored over 300 events, offers resources to survivors and provides free legal services to victims.
The UNO event began with the opportunity for participants to hold signs over the Dodge Street Pedestrian Bridge. From there, a rally featuring speakers from campus organizations took place. Sage Carson, the manager of the national organization, “Know Your IX,” was the event’s keynote speaker.
Carson shared her story of assault and said that when it happened, she felt she had no one to turn to.
After the speeches, participants received an electronic candle to hold as they marched through campus to show solidarity for those who have been assaulted.
As a UNO resident assistant, Rogers-Morrell said seeing the support the event received from campus organizations was very impactful.
“Seeing the Title Nine coordinators at the event in support really meant a lot and makes me feel very comfortable if I ever needed to reach out to them or refer someone to them,” Rogers-Morrell said.
Nineteen percent of women will be sexually assaulted while in college and only 12 percent of them will report their assault to law enforcement, according to a 2007 study on the “Know Your IX” website.
“I think for those who don’t understand events like Take Back the Night, I would tell them the statistics,” Rogers-Morrell said.
The TBTN Foundation reports that, “one-in-three women worldwide will experience some form of sexual violence or intimate partner violence.”
For those who missed the event but would still like to be involved with the cause, UNO’s Women’s Resource Center offers services for women year-round and provide consistent support for women on campus.
“Survivors unite. Take back the night.”