SOAR Sponsors Seventh Annual Take Back the Night March

SJU community steps out and stands up in support of sexual violence survivors.

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

St. John’s University’s Sexual Violence Outreach, Awareness and Response (SOAR) Office held their seventh annual “Take Back the Night” march Oct. 6 in partnership with Womankind.

Womankind is a women’s center that aims “to help survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual violence rise above trauma and build a path to healing.”

 “Take Back the Night” is the “oldest worldwide movement to stand against sexual violence in all its forms,” according to SOAR. The office works to combat sexual violence, dating violence, intimate partner violence, gender-based violence and stalking in the University community.

 The event featured a campus-wide march starting at 7:30 p.m., healing practices workshop and “Hear Our Voices,” an arts workshop sponsored by Womankind.

 The group began their march at D’Angelo Center (DAC) Plaza, reaching Residence Village and the Great Lawn and ended where they started at DAC. Marchers held signs and chanted various phrases including “whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, no means no” and “shatter the silence, stop the violence.”

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

“We’re here tonight to show St. John’s University that we stand up against all forms of sexual violence. We’re here to show people that we support survivors,” said Danielle DiNapoli, Director of SOAR. “There’s no two survivor stories that are the same, and we’re here tonight to acknowledge that and support survivors wherever they are on their healing journey.”

Take Back the Night is part of the “It’s on Us” campaign, which aims to increase student and faculty awareness to help be part of the solution. The department offers Bystander Intervention Training to recognize warning signs of high-risk behaviors, affirmative consent program Knowing YES! and will host turn off the violence week in spring.

SOAR Director Danielle DiNapoli
Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

“I have had people close to me go through sexual assault, so I’m just trying to do what I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to my fellow students and people I care about,” said Jack Henson, SOAR Guide and Diversity and Inclusion Chair of Sigma Pi. The senior, along with two undergraduate representatives, wore red “It’s on Us” capes and helped lead marchers. 

 “At the end of the day, we really want to help everyone create healthy relationships,” said DiNapoli. “Unfortunately, the work never stops.” 

For more information on SOAR and the “It’s on Us” campaign, click here to get involved. Click here for support services if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence.