Northwestern University College Feminists host annual Take Back the Night march
  • Students ended the march at the Norris University Center.
  • TBTN co-chairs Haley Pilgrim and Elizabeth Bohl led the charge.
  • University President Morton Schapiro took part of the march, along with several other faculty members.
  • "Hey hey ho ho, sexual violence has got to go," was among the chants repeated by marchers.
  • "You are not alone," said Megan Blomquist to sexual violence survivors.
  • Sororities Tri-delt and A Chi O collaborated on their banner and marched together.
  • IFC was one of many Greek organizations represented in the march.
Photos by Lucy Wang / North by Northwestern

A crowd of chanting women and men marched from the Rock to Dittmar Gallery in Norris University Center Northwestern College Thursday night as part of the annual Take Back the Night march, hosted by Northwestern University College Feminists.

“Non, nein, nada, no. Whatever the language, no means no!” the students chanted. “Survivors unite, take back the night!”

TBTN, an annual tradition that dates back to 1988 on Northwestern’s campus, aims to promote sexual assault awareness and support survivors of assault, TBTN co-chair and Weinberg junior Elizabeth Bohl said.

Bohl and her co-chairs Haley Pilgrim, a SESP senior, held hands as Megan Blomquist, Director of Education and Training at Rape Victim Advocates, spoke at the Rock before the march. Blomquist said that society allows sexual assault to happen by remaining passive and by sustaining cultural clichés like the motto, “Boys will be boys.” But she also said she’s changed the way she reacts to those guilty of sexual violence.

“I’m not hateful anymore,” she said. “I’m powerful just like you…. This is a day that we create change. Today is a day of celebration and hope.”

The march began at 6:15 p.m., winding from the Rock, through the Arch and into Dittmar Gallery in Norris, where the marchers would attend a survivor-speakout session.

Media were not allowed inside because, Bohl said, the room was supposed to be a safe space for people to tell their stories of survival without worrying their words were being recorded. Marchers included, among other faculty members, Assistant Dean of Students Tara Sullivan and President Morton Schapiro.

Title IX, which is one part of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits gender discrimination in education programs receiving federal funds. Complaints regarding violations of the law have sprung up throughout the past year at Yale University, UC Berkeley, Dartmouth University and this past week at Columbia University and Barnard College. On Wednesday, the Huffington Post reported that Brown University has punished a student who allegedly raped another student by suspending him for one semester, a sentence many people have criticized as too light.

“It’s interesting in that this year, there’s more of an awareness about the issue with all the Title IX protests,” Pilgrim said. “It’s prevalent, which is why we do this.”

Bohl said TBTN had been working to build stronger partnerships with other support groups on campus, like SHAPE and MARS. TBTN co-sponsored with SHAPE to host Guante, a two-time National Poetry Slam champion, Wednesday night in the Dittmar Gallery at an event called “Burning Boxers.”

“It’s everyone’s problem,” said SESP senior Billy Choo, who marched with TBTN for the first time this year. “Females can be assaulters in a heterosexual relationship … This is not just a female movement. This is for everyone.”


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