Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

‘Take Back the Night’ Seeks Change

Angry feminazis screaming around campus advocating for the castration of men and burning their bras. This is the image of “Take Back the Night” that many at Georgetown have. It is simply not true. As a man and a co-chairperson for this year’s Take Back the Night, I think I’m in a good position to dispel some of the myths that surround this event. “Take Back the Night” first started at Georgetown in the fall of 1995 by a small group of activists committed to protesting the violence against women that happens, so often silently, in our community and world. A lot has changed since then. In 1995, “Take Back the Night” was just one evening of voices being raised. This year, Take Back the Night will span a full week offering programs as diverse as an open-mic session to a workshop on child sexual abuse to a forum discussing how men and women communicate in intimate situations and the week-ending rally, march and speakout. In 1995, there was no one person that survivors of violence could contact to get help sort through the options one has after an assault. Now we have Carolyn Hurwitz, Georgetown’s Sexual Assault Services Coordinator. Most importantly, we now have a sexual assault policy that is strong and fair. While “Take Back the Night” cannot take credit for all these changes, I believe it has been instrumental in establishing the recognition that violence against women is an important campus issue. But our work has not ended. When I first came to Georgetown in 1995, I was shocked to learn that only one sexual assault had been reported for the previous few years. Was this number truly representative of what occurred to women on this campus? From July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998, Hurwitz received 40 reports of assault. It is good to hear that the veil of silence seems to be lifting, but the number still scares and saddens me. Now we know that many women and even some men deal with the burden of sexual assault. We must do more to acknowledge that this type of violence does exist on campus. We must do more to reduce the risk of violence against women. We must do more to educate ourselves about the problem and how each and everyone of us can be a part of the solution. Recently, “Take Back the Night” has come under controversy. The week is seen as perpetuating the role of women as victims. It is seen as over-publicizing a problem that only confronts a select few who inevitably “deserve” what happens to them. It is seen as a week that only involves those “crazy” feminists who hate men. It amazes me how wrong these people are. “Take Back the Night” is about empowering women and men to stop the cycle of violence against women that pervades our society. It is about the inclusion of women and men from all walks of the Georgetown community. It is about creating a safe environment for women on campus. As for over-publicizing a problem that only affects a select few, does the number really matter? If one woman is assaulted or abused, does that diminish its significance? Does it diminish the pain and anguish that will result? Clearly, the answer is no. As an ever-evolving group, the Take Back the Night committee knows that it also must do better. This year, with the theme of “Opening the Dialogue,” we are trying to open the lines of communication between the sexes and different races and ethnicities. In the end, it is the responsibility of each and everyone on this campus to let our leaders and peers know that this is an important issue that must be confronted. Therefore, I am sending an open invitation to every student, faculty member, administrator and employee of Georgetown to participate in “Take Back the Night” week, Nov. 9-13. It will only be with our combined voices that we can begin the path to constructive change. Jin Chon is a senior in the College.

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