North Dakota State students could hear chants of “Yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go,” throughout the streets of campus Thursday.
The chants were part of Take Back the Night, an event aimed to show support to victims of sexual assault, stalking, abuse and more. The night began as students and community members gathered at Memorial Union to make signs and visit different booths to show their support for the event.
“Take Back the Night is a time for the campus to come together and, in a very visible way, shatter the silence that often surrounds sexual and relationship violence,” Sarah Dodd, assistant director of sexual assault prevention and advocacy, said.
“Victims of sexual assault need activists. It’s nice that (our) campus has this. Some don’t believe the victims,” Paige Whipple, a senior and member of Women’s Activist Organization said.
The official start of the event began with a rally to welcome and create a safe space for everyone attending. An introduction was given from the Violence Prevention Educators, a campus group.
“24 percent of students at NDSU experience sexual violence. That’s 1 in 4. In the US it’s 1 in 5,” Kailyn Ohm, a violence prevention educator and president of Share, Survive, Thrive, said.
Ohm said her main focus was getting that statistic out to the university. She said the importance that NDSU is doing worse than the national average is not okay.
Following the introduction, two speakers, Mackenzie Eckman and Dawn Kraemer, shared their personal stories. Kraemer said it is important to “be cautious” and “have each other’s back” while in college.
Following the rally, the march around campus began. Bystanders watched as victims and supporters marched around campus with signs in their hands. Some bystanders showed their support to the group verbally or non-verbally by honking as they drove by.
After the march, everyone returned to Memorial Union where the candlelight vigil began and people came forward to tell their stories or show their support.
If you, or someone you know, is or has experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, abuse or needs someone to talk to, NDSU’s Counseling Center is located in 212 Ceres Hall and is free and open to all students and is completely confidential.