Story by Erica Hummel ’16
Over 150 Bowdoin students stood in silence, in the flickering light of candles, outside the Bowdoin College Museum of Art last Wednesday evening.
They were about to start a silent walk around campus in honor of Take Back the Night, a march held worldwide to protest against all forms of sexual violence. The event at Bowdoin is hosted by VDAY Bowdoin, a women’s advocacy and anti-violence organization on campus.
“The walk we are going to complete is meant to symbolize the individual walk through darkness that anyone might take, and to demonstrate that we can all be united and fight against this violence,” VDAY co-leader Luisa LaSalle ‘14 said.
“Tonight we stand together as students dedicated to supporting one another, and looking out for the people we care about — keeping our community strong and safe, no matter the time of day,” added Kaylee Wolfe ’15 a member of VDAY and Bowdoin Peer Health.
Before the walk began, the audience also heard statistics from the leaders of Safe Space, an organization of Bowdoin students trained to support sexual assault survivors, in addition to a poem and the real testimony of an anonymous Bowdoin student who was sexually assaulted.
Students marched through a short section of campus, many of them holding candles. The walk concluded at 24 College Street, Bowdoin’s Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. The all-female a capella group Miscellania gave a short performance to conclude the event.
Several Bowdoin organizations participated in the march, in addition to unaffiliated students. Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence, Safe Space, and sports teams were all in attendance to show solidarity with victims and raise awareness of sexual violence.
Although sexual violence may not be a glaring issue at Bowdoin, students still feel the night is important to highlight its seriousness. “Take Back the Night is an emblem of activism for this campus,” VDAY coleader Janki Kaneria ’14 said.
“An outstanding number of students came out to support survivors of sexual violence and shatter the silence surrounding the issue,” Kaneria continued. “The overwhelming support for an event such as this demonstrates that Bowdoin students are aware of this issue and are not afraid to fight to end sexual violence.”