Students, faculty and community members participated in the student-led Take Back the Night, an event that raises awareness about sexual assault.
Before the event began, participants created name tags to wear with different stereotypes of sexual assault, made a poster with funny ways to ask for consent and put sticky notes on a poster with their definition of consent.
Sheila Thomas, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, was first to speak.
Thomas began her presentation by explaining the difficulties in her job.
“My role has to change as a nurse examiner,” she said. “My job there is an examiner. It’s not coddling like other nurses. I have to decide whether this case goes to court.”
Thomas continued her speech by talking about what the definitions of sexual assault and consent are.
“Consent can be taken away at any time,” she said.
Thomas also discussed how the presence of violence is often a misconception when it comes to rape and sexual assault.
“When I go to see a rape victim, very rarely do I see bruises,” she said. “Often times we freeze while being attacked. These are people we know. These are people we trust. There is no fight or bruises. These victims are people (who) have been hurt to their core by people they trust and know.”
Thomas concluded by saying rape culture needs to change.
After her presentation, the floor was open for sexual assault survivors willing to speak. Five people shared their stories of being raped or sexually assaulted.
To conclude the event, attendees met outside the building with signs, candles and walked around campus chanting about consent.