Take Back the Night is Taking Back Survivors’ Voices One Event at a Time

Loyola’s Take Back the Night event began with a silent march across the Loyola campus and onto Cold Spring Lane. Teal blue ribbons were worn by both survivors and supporters of the event. The coordinators of the event asked for survivors to wear their ribbons on the left side of their chest. Together, a mass of almost 30 individuals marched in solidarity to change the culture at Loyola and raise awareness. 

The event was hosted by the DoBetter Campaign to show support for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment within the Loyola Community and aimed to create a culture that prevents gender-based violence on campus. 

Lauren DeBernardis

Various speakers shared messages of endearment, support, and information on resources available at the university. President of the Loyola DoBetter Campaign, Lauren Forger, said the Take Back the Night event is especially important at Loyola for giving survivors their voices back. 

Forger said, “We all know that everyone who attends that event is going to believe you, and they want to believe you, and they want to support you. So I think that’s really what the event is about. And it’s kind of just like giving the survivors their voices back.”

The event was part of the 2023 Sexuality and Gender Diversity Awareness Week which took place in various locations throughout Loyola’s campus. The event has occurred for the past 60 years across European and North American countries. 

Lauren DeBernardis

Director of Title IX Compliance and Assessment department at Loyola, Dave Tiscione, said, “It’s a national event, where colleges and universities, neighborhoods, cities, communities will come together to give power back to people who have experienced sexual violence. Most often they coalesce around some sort of March and/or speak out.”

Tiscione said Title IX has taken the initiative to raise more awareness in the Loyola community and tend to the needs of students who experience sexual assault and sexual harassment. Tiscione said a major goal was to create the Title IX Compliance and Assessment office at Loyola and have a more dedicated team of people who focus solely on Loyola students’ needs within Title IX. 

“Last year, we had over 2,000 students that we met with to talk about the process and resources and things like that. This year, we’re kind of on track to exceed that by a little bit. We’re regularly meeting with 2,000 students a year, you know, you can think about how large of a portion of the campus that is. So, I think that’s a major change,” Tiscione said.

Tiscione said the department sends out annual reports which show how Title IX addresses everything, providing complete transparency to the community about the number, category, and progress of all the reports received. 

For those who could not attend the Take Back the Night event, but need advice, Forger said the biggest thing she can say to victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment is to believe in yourself. 

“I feel like that’s the most important thing. I keep saying it. And I know it sounds repetitive, but that is the biggest thing,” Forger said. “But also, you’re not alone. There are so many more people than you expect who are going through this.”