UMD marches to ‘Take Back The Night’

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UMD hosted its annual ‘Take Back The Night’ march and rally tonight, taking a stand against sexual assault.

"Take Back The Night is a movement that started in Germany as a movement for women to walk and reclaim the streets to feel safe," explained UMD Office of Diversity and Inclusion Director Susana Pelayo-Woodward. "It’s a movement that is all over the world."

Prior to the march, various organizations that help victims of sexual assault tabled to spread awareness about the resources they provide.

Cait Tschida, a UMD junior interning at the Women’s Resource and Action Center, helped organize the event.

"Being able to help is super important," Tschida said. "There’s so many survivors out there that aren’t able to speak or come forward, and just being able to show community support and being able to be there for them is something that means a lot to me, and I just want to be able to be there and show support in any way that I can."

Pelayo-Woodward hopes that the tabling and march helped encourage community members to listen to victims when they tell their story.

"Believe survivors," Pelayo-Woodward emphasized. "When someone comes to you and talks to you that they have been victims of sexual assault or domestic violence, first say, I am so sorry this happened to you, and I am glad that you trust in me. Be there as a resource, be there for someone who may be going through some difficult times."

Safe Haven was one of the many organizations present at ‘Take Back The Night’ tonight. Youth Advocate Magdalene Kummet wants it to be safe for women to walk at night.

"Your parents always tell you, ‘oh no, you can’t go walk at night’, but, we should be able to. Guys can go for a walk at 11:30 at night, why can’t we?," said Kummet. "Take back the night is an event where women can come together and come together and stand for it and stand for like women in general. Being able to go out at night is not something we can do , and I think that’s wrong and we need to stand for it and take it back."

The Native Lives Matter Coalition spoke at the event, raising awareness to the number of indigenous women who have been reported missing in the U.S. The organization is behind the "Say Her Name" campaign to support missing and murdered indigenous women.