Keene State College held its third annual Take Back the Night walk on Thursday October 25. Take Back the Night is a movement with a mission to “promote awareness of sexual violence, and to promote a safer community at night,” according to its facebook page.
Student volunteer Brianna Hankel said she supports the movement, because it’s really important to spread awareness about domestic violence.
“The Take Back the Night [walk] is kind of like a metaphor. Like, us as women are going to take back the night, in a sense. We walk to support and raise awareness for those who are too afraid to speak up about the domestic abuse they’re going through,” Hankel said.
The movement began in the 1960s, overseas in Belgium and England, and made its way over to the states in 1973 when a group of women at the University of Southern Florida marched around campus demanding there be a women’s center. Assistant Director of Emotional Health Programming & Outreach and Coordinator of Sexual Violence Prevention Forrest Seymour said it was important to bring this movement to Keene State College because bringing awareness to domestic violence, especially on a college campus, is vital to ensure people are as safe as they can be.
“This is KSC’s third annual Take Back the Night walk, and we do it in October because October is domestic violence awareness month. It’s easy to forget how much women have to think about keeping themselves safe in terms of the choices they make about where they go late at night, changing their route on their way home, looking in the back of their car when they get in, and many more things women have to do to make sure they’re safe and stay safe,” Seymour said.
First-year student Alyssa Rollins said she walks to spread awareness and support those who have been victims of domestic violence.
“As a woman, you often don’t realize that things you do aren’t always seen to be normal. Like looking in the back of your car at night when you go to drive. That’s honestly something I do all the time, and I never really realized that it wasn’t normal to do. I feel like women only have to do this, too, because all our lives we’ve been told to be careful at night and that if we are alone at night to be on extra high alert of our surroundings. So, I walk to hopefully end that and spread awareness,” Rollins said.
Men are encouraged to walk at the event to show their support and that they stand with women in this battle against domestic violence. Seymour said women are going to go where they want when they want, and men walk with them to show their support and encourage women to feel empowered. “If women want to walk around at night and areas where they sometimes feel like they might get harassed, they’re going to go anyways. And in this case, they’re going to have a lot of men with them. So it’s like men supporting women and saying they can live the kind of life they want to live,” Seymour said.
This is the third year KSC has brought the Take Back the Night movement to campus, and Rollins said she hopes they bring it back next year to continue to spread awareness, “Take Back the Night is a great movement and it’s really empowering to women across the world. It’s also great to see men joining us and showing us that they stand with women and support this cause to spread awareness about domestic violence. I hope they do continue this on campus because it’s really great to see stuff like this.”
Emily Carstensen can be contacted at