Take Back Tonight

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At 8pm this evening, the 23rd annual Take Back the Night rally will begin at the Barnard Gates. Participants will march through the streets of Morningside Heights and reconvene in LeFrak Gymnasium at 10pm for a Speakout. All are welcome join, but only women will lead the line. The Take Back the Night march demonstrates against sexual violence and raises awareness of its prevalence. These harrowing statistics emphasize why sexual assault demands special attention:

  • The United States has the highest rape ratio of any country that reports such statistics.
  • Almost 25% of college students have been victims of rape or attempted rape.
  • 90% of undergraduate college women who have been sexually assaulted knew the perpetrator.
  • 95.4% of rape offenders are male and 96% of survivors are female.
  • Approximately 17.8% of female high school students report being forced to engage in sexual activity against their will by a dating partner.
  • Fewer than 5% of these completed or attempted rapes are reported to law enforcement.

These issues affect your peers, and you probably know a victim. Last year the Spectator published a deeply unsettling op-ed on the failure of Columbia’s sexual assault policy to discipline a student who had raped the author twice. She called out University’s failure to treat such offenses with appropriate gravity or provide support for victims of sexual violence. Official procedures for addressing rape and other cases of sexual assault are now being seriously revisited and improved. Students truly have the ability to change the prevailing culture of silence about these injustices, and to make campus a safer, more equal space for women. But you have to speak up. See you tonight!

Check back for coverage of demonstration later tonight. You can also read Bwog’s coverage of the march from 2010 and 2009.

Columbia provides valuable resources for support:
Nightline, the Columbia-Barnard peer counseling hotline, will offer extended hours tonight (10pm-5am), and can be reached at 212-854-7777.
The University’s Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center: 212- 854-HELP

The Men’s Peer Education Program
Columbia’s Health Services
The University’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program (SVPRP)
Counseling and Psychological Services (Columbia): 212-854-2878
Rosemary Furman Counseling Center (Barnard): 212-854-2092

Office of the University Chaplain: 212-854-1493

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE

And one quick note: A little while back, we were stunned the display of solidarity in this comment thread. We hope people will continue to show support for the victims you most likely know.



  1. Anonymous  

    "Almost 25% of college have been victims of rape or attempted rape."

    Uh, educational institutions don't get raped by others, others get raped by educational institutions.

  2. i noticed  

    in looking at the signs that many of these statistics are from 2000-2003. this nothing to do with the actual mission of the org (which i think is fantastic), but it's TBTN's responsibility to make sure to use current statistics so that we can be properly informed

  3. HEY

    More important: WHAT HAPPENED TO [email protected]?!

      • WHAT?

        Given years, this TBTN crap hasn't even made reasonable progress towards a solution. Can we please begin to judge movements and collective action by results and not intentions? At the very least, we'd be afforded the opportunity to not have to feign reverence for idiotic crap.

        • Anonymous  

          it's not just about reaching a solution. this event is also organized to provide a space for victims of sexual abuse to walk in solidarity with people who support them/people who have been in their shoes. it's about giving confidence to victims of rape to speak up and make it be known that it is okay to verbalize what has happened to them, and staying silent will not amount to anything. don't be so quick to judge an event. take a look at what it does for an individual who has been seriously affected by one of these issues, or an individual who has a friend, sister, brother who has been affected.

        • Anonymous

          Of course TBTN cannot provide a magical "solution" to end all sexual violence, but you clearly haven't noticed, shit has changed a lot at Columbia in the last 23 years. We now have a Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program, a Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, a Men's Peer Education program, a President's Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault, an NSOP program that includes Consent 101 training, a Disciplinary Procedure on Sexual Assault, an event-heavy Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and, yes, a once-a-year anti sexual violence rally, march, and speakout, attended by hundreds of people, that serves the CU community and Morningside Heights. That means these programs, groups, and events have affected and educated thousands of people in the last 23 years. Of course this is not all due to the existence of TBTN, but all of it came after TBTN started, and all of it IS due to student activism and administrative support.

          Also, do you really have to "feign" reverence for an intense, emotional, powerful event that allows survivors of violence and their allies a safe space to talk about their experiences? Damn.

  4. Hmm,

    So the marauding hordes take back the night every year.... I wonder how long they keep it until they lose it again. Does not seem that effective if they have to take it back every year.

  5. Anonymous  

    its bs that only women lead the line. if none of them were raped, we're all on the same line

  6. overheard  

    they passed by a few minutes back but i cant understand what they were saying. anyone know? sounded like:
    "what do we want?"
    "Lamestream/main street/wayne feet/reign free"! (couldnt make out sense here)
    "when do we want it?"


  7. Anonymous  

    all i heard were obnoxious whistles

  8. who  

    are the jerks that commented on the spec article? goddamn.

    • the same ones  

      that are commenting here. sexual assault is a serious issue that needs attention -- not just once a year, but constantly. yes, the fact that the march occurs yearly is a response to the fact that sexual has not gone away.

      evidently, i see that the haters on this blog are doing all they can to end sexual assault, and therefore, have no need to join the march but just critique from the distant safety of a computer.

      if you're not doing anything and aren't going to do anything to change the status quo, then i suggest that you shut the fuk up.

    • Anonymous

      Jesus, those comments were disgusting. I will never understand why the knee-jerk reaction when a rape happens is to doubt the victim, when rape is one of the most under-reported crimes and the rate of false reporting is two fucking percent, perfectly in line with other crimes.

      • Anonymous

        Even more underreported is domestic violence of women against men.

        Yes, it does happen. It does happen a lot, even if most of it is not physical, but most men do not want to report it.

  9. Anonymous  

    I LOVE [email protected] But come on dude, this is not the time or place for this one...

  10. Yakko Warner

    It's not "United STATUS, Canada, Mexico Panada..."

  11. Anonymous  

    what is [email protected]?

  12. Spellcheck please?  

    "The United Status has the highest rape ratio of any country that reports such statistics."

    What is the United Status BWOG? Doesn't Microsoft Word have a built in spellcheck?

  13. Anon

    I can echo the Spectator article on the bankruptcy of University disciplinary procedure relating to rape. Something similar to the author's story happened to a friend of mine at a hearing. I will not say more because it is not my place.

  14. '11  

    I don't think men realize how much women have to do on a daily basis in order not to feel any sexual harassment or risk any sexual assault.

    Do you have to completely analyze your wardrobe before you go out? Do you have to change or avoid buying clothing that is inappropriate and can get you bad attention? Do you sometimes walk a different longer way home at night because it's safer? Do you hold your keys in between your fingers just in case? Do you carry mase? Do you take self defense class in order to protect yourself? Do you take out your headphones the minute you're outside so you can be aware of your surroundings? Do you get scared being by yourself at night?

    Probably not. But women do this things. And many more. These are things women have to do EVERY SINGLE DAY in order to have some level of safe. It is disgusting that in our society a women has to go through so many precautions just to walk on the streets.

    And what annoys me is that I could be wearing the loosest and appropriate clothes and I still get harassed on the street. I can't even walk without someone making cat calls. That is not acceptable but we've allowed it to be OK.

    It's not acceptable that people make disgusting comments on Spec or here. Sexual assault and rape happens and it happens way more that it is reported. If anything you should support anyone who is willing to admit it because they most likely had a hard thing admitting it to themselves.

    I know my cousin who is 14 was sexual assaulted and almost raped for a good chunk of her life but she was so scared to tell somebody because she didn't want to admit to herself. No one should have to go through an experience like that. It is not acceptable.

    • Male

      1) Yes
      2) Yes
      3) Yes
      4) ..what?
      5) No
      6) Yes
      7) Yes
      8) I guess not.

      The fact that I have a penis doesn't make me immune to safety precautions. Nor does it make me immune from thinking about what I wear...

      On a more serious note, I think if this is really the way you feel--that you are constantly in danger because you are a woman--that you might want to see a therapist about it. Rape does happen, and it has horrible effects on the lives of the victims. But these women, with sufficient support, are often able to lift themselves up and live normal lives despite the trauma. For you to live your life in fear that at any moment a man is going to jump out of an alley and assault you is not healthy.

      • Anonymous  

        Here's the thing. Woman are CONSTANTLY told we are in danger just because we're women. It's not just "Don't walk alone in a dangerous neighborhood." It's a hundred thousand rules we're expected to follow and have internalized because it is accepted that our sexuality inherently makes us targets.

        You scoff at this woman for doing things like putting keys between her fingers as a safety precaution, but I bet you if you polled your female friends, you would find that 9 out of 10 have done that same thing (or something similar) because they felt threatened while walking alone. Even in "safe" neighborhoods.

        If we don't "take care of ourselves" and follow the rules, it becomes (in an alarming number of cases) up for discussion whether it was really sexual assault, or maybe that the victim deserved it and was asking for it. You can see this attitude in some of the comments here.

        • Male

          First of all, I was not scoffing at anyone.

          If you track the "thumbs up/thumbs down" trend of comments on this thread you'll notice a clear pattern: anyone questions any part of the "we have everything to fear" attitude is immediately condemned. Now I'm not saying that women are in no danger of sexual assault. I'm not saying that the danger and harassment women face on a daily basis is not more than that faced by men. I'm CERTAINLY not saying that it's ridiculous for women to take protective measures.

          My points was that the general attitude of being afraid all the time is not healthy. New York has some of the safesty city streets in the world and plenty of women walk alone at night here without feeling threatened. Plenty of women here also dress for themselves, not for what they think random people on the street might say or think. If you really feel threatened every time you step out the door the is a HUGE problem and it is not just a problem of society.

  15. If

    I walked through Harlem by my self at night and got mugged most people would say I put myself in a dangerous situation. Most of these college rapes aren't random acts. If you get drunk, walk home on your own or go home with a guy you just met when either of you are drunk, you're putting yourself in a dangerous position. You should be able to safely walk home from a party but the truth is you can't. No one can. I'm a 6'2" 200 lb guy and I don't feel safe off of Broadway at night. The world is a dangerous place for everyone. Rape is a horrible crime but in most cases you were part of the reason you got raped. This is not a defense of rape but the line between a consenting drunk hook up and rape is very blurry and in most cases the victim played a large part in bringing the pair of you to that blurry line.

    • Anonymous  

      Why don't you just try to see things from a different perspective. the fact that "these college rapes" aren't random acts does not make it okay, it makes it worse. Having drinks is not an invitation for sex, despite what many college guys think. Going home with a guy you just met is NOT an invitation for sex, it just means you want to spend more time with that person. Kissing a guy is NOT an invitation for sex. Letting someone touch you once is NOT an invitation for sex. A woman should be able to enjoy flirting and going out and drinking and meeting new people without having to be blamed if someone assaults her. The line is really not that blurry.

    • call a wambulance

      you're mad ignorant homie

    • ...  

      while your "blaming the victim" crap is utter bullshit, your cautionary message with respect to intoxication is completely valid. if you must inebriate yourself to the point of ridiculousness, try to make sure you're in the company of those you trust and watch out for each other. shit happens.

  16. Anonymous  

    is exactly the type of mentality we are trying to educate against. please, please go to an event like tbtn so you can see for yourself what that line of reasoning does to survivors.

  17. yes,  

    Word has spell check for misspelled words, not misused words. Nice try there though, Sassy McSasserson.

  18. Anonymous  

    Bored at Butler. It was this website where people would anonymously voice their sexual frustration and post anti-Semitic cries for attention.

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