There will be women screaming into the night next Tuesday evening, but don’t call Public Safety. They will already be there. April 24, will mark the annual “Take Back the Night” rally, sponsored by the Student Women’s Association.
“The most important part of Take Back the Night is the speak out portion,” Wren Anderson, of the Women’s Resource Center and one of the organizers of the event, said. “It is an opportunity for any woman to make her voice heard, to break the silence.”
Carrie Nason, of Rape Response Services and one of the organizers of the event, said Take Back the Night rallies began in 1973 in Germany and were brought to the United States in 1978. The first in the University of Maine area was in 1984, when the rally was held in Bangor. The project came to UMaine sometime in the mid to late, 80s. Last year’s rally attracted about 30 people from the community.
“We are hoping for a couple hundred this year,” Anderson said.
The rally will begin on the steps of Fogler Library at 7 p.m. with Renaissance, a women’s singing group. Next there will be speakers from Rape Response Services, Spruce Run and the Women’s Resource Center. Officer Deborah Mitchell, crime prevention officer for UMaine Public Safety, will also be on hand.
“Deb Mitchell will be getting the crowd active with self-defense,” Anderson said.
Women from the crowd will also be invited to take part in the speeches.
“There is going to be an opportunity for women to speak out, too,” Nason said.
From there, the crowd will march down College Avenue, past the Memorial Gym and up to Hilltop where they will go to the Wooley Room in DTAV.
“The purpose of the march is to take back the night, to yell down the streets together that we want to feel safe in our community,” Anderson said. “It is so important because I , for example, and tons of other women don’t feel supported in a lot of ways. Women feel alone and isolated in their experiences and this is a rally and march to symbolize the support that women do have, that we are not alone.”
Nason said there will be more rallying and speakers as well as refreshments in the Wooley room.
She said men are also invited to the rally. Bob Franklin, assistant director of Student Life and Programs, will be speaking, adding a male’s view to the evening.
“I really hope that a lot of men will show up-we don’t want them to be left out – this is important for them too, we belong to a community of men and women – nobody can be left out,” Anderson said.
Another part of this event is the Clothesline Project, which will be displayed all day Tuesday on the Mall.
“The clothesline project is T-shirts that women survivors and victims have made, also to break the silence around the issue, to let people know how many people this issue affects,” Anderson said. “It is powerful.”
Anderson hopes there is a good turn out Tuesday evening.
“I really expect to have a big turn out. We’ve been trying to spread the word, and even though it is a busy time on campus showing support for women is an important thing,” she said. “I really want this to be a big deal- the more people the more powerful.”