Take Back the Night kicks off Consent Week at ASU West

sexual-assault-event-take-back-the-night-consent-week-2 An ASU student shares her story about sexual assault to a crowd at ASU West during "Take Back the Night", a sexual assault awareness event hosted at ASU West during Consent Week. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

Take Back the Night kicked off Consent Week Monday at ASU's West campus with an evening dedicated to creating a forum for those faced with sexual violence. The event allowed students to share their experiences and participate in a march.

Political science sophomore Carisa Cunningham was very emotional at the open mic portion of the event, when she shared what she had seen happen with her friend who had been sexually assaulted.

“I think I was expecting college to be a safe place to learn without having to learn about violence, but when I got here I was living in the dorms, and I had friends share their experiences,” she said.

Cunningham said it wasn't until her friend heard a peer share their own experience that she was able to have the confidence to get the help she needed.

“It's not until you have friends who have gone through it that you realize how much talking about it helps and how much it helps survivors to hear others talking about their experiences, too,” she said. “They’re not alone.“

Sophomore political science major Carisa Cunningham shares a story about a friend who experienced sexual assault.  Cunningham told audience members that hearing someone else share their story helped her friend.  (Photo by Andrew Ybanez) Sophomore political science major Carisa Cunningham shares a story about a friend who experienced sexual assault. Cunningham told audience members that hearing someone else share their story helped her friend. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

Over the time that open mic night was available, there were a few times where the audience was silent. Social justice junior Amada Serum said these pauses reflected the nature of sexual violence.

“Part of what's so dramatic about sexual violence is the silence that surrounds it. This silence is why we’re here,” she said.

Psychology senior Amanda Thomas said Consent Weeks seeks to educate students about sexual violence and the importance of getting consent.

“Ninety-five percent of campus sexual assaults go unreported," she said. "Why? Because too many times students feel like it’s their fault, whether it’s because of their outfit, or because they’re drinking. That still doesn’t mean consent was given."

Thomas also shared her own story with those that attended the event.

“I was a victim, and without my friends and family I wouldn’t have gotten help and survived," she said. "My attacker wouldn’t have 10 years in jail without them. We need to support each other.“

sexual-assault-event-take-back-the-night-consent-week-7 Marlene Tromp, Dean of Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, speaks to supporters during an anti-sexual assault event at ASU West. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

Marlene Tromp, Dean of ASU's New College, said programs like Take Back the Night are necessary to bring about a change.

“I don't think we can tolerate tolerance anymore," Tromp said. "That’s perpetrating on ourselves, our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our friends, our sons. Nor can we tolerate violence done to women elsewhere. I think it’s by coming together that we actually make an impact on whether violence works in a culture.”

Tromp shared two sexual assaults from her own college experiences. She said when she expressed concern to her department chair years later, he dismissed the claims.

Tromp said this was crushing, and she now tries to stop similar things from happening.

“I don't want any of our students to live in that world today,” she said.

sexual-assault-event-take-back-the-night-consent-week-6 ASU West students march on campus chanting anti-sexual assault messages and carrying "Take Back the Night" signage. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

 

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this article misspelled Marlene Tromp's name. This version has been updated with the correct spelling.

Reach the reporter at rtashboo@asu.edu or follow her on twitter at @Rachael_Ta

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