Empowering Survivors of Interpersonal Violence

Rebekah Brancato   News Editor

April 19 at 7 p.m., Eastern hosted the annual Take Back the Night event, an international movement meant to empower survivors of interpersonal violence. The event was hosted by the Women’s Center and the Unity Wing, as well as social work interns Clarissa Valentin, Chandni Patel, Fanta Faro, Jacqueline Bedard, Linda Easterling, and Taylor Pyka. The event included presentations by professionals and an interpretive dance by Modern Movement in the Betty Tipton Room. These were followed by a drum circle and a Zumba class.

Before this, however, there was a two-minute moment of silence led by Father Larry LaPointe of the campus ministry. Father Larry spoke about the purpose of the event, and the importance of respecting the dignity of others. The event was “driving away the shadows and darkness that can sometimes overtake us.”
After his speech, multiple professionals came up to speak, representing the resources and services available to students. Each of these professionals wore a yellow lanyard, in order to offer a helping hand to anyone who may have felt overwhelmed during the event, as it was very emotional.
The professionals included Patty Sue Brown of the Domestic Violence Program, Allison and Julie of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Eastern Connecticut, Bryce Krapser of the Counseling and Psychological Services here on campus, and Sgt. Lisa Hamilton of the campus’ police department.
Following this was an interpretive dance performed by Modern Movement to the song Rise Up by Andra Day. After this, keynote speaker Nazmie Batista, an Eastern alumni who now works on the executive team for Safe Futures, presented her story. She began with a poetry performance, and then went on to discuss her experiences with interpersonal violence.
She outlined three important highlights to take away from this event: 1. If you are a victim, it is not your fault, 2. Healing is a process and a journey that goes at a different pace for everyone, and 3. If you are an ally or bystander, be a safe person for others to speak with.
After this, members from the audience were able to share their stories and experiences. One speaker spoke of the importance of taking control of the situation and reaching out after having been raped, even though many of those she reached out to for help blamed her instead or didn’t take her seriously.
The event proceeded with a drum circle and Zumba class; while a march was supposed to take place, it was postponed due to weather. For more information, visit takebackthenight.org.

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