Bishop’s University students prepare for Take Back the Night march

By Reann Fournier, Special to The Record
Bishop’s University students prepare for  Take Back the Night march
Last year’s TBTN March (Photo : Courtesy of Anika Malone)

This year, Bishop’s University’s annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) March is going to look a little different. In order to keep the BU community safe, the march coordinators have created new, innovative ways to reach the student population and greater community through an online forum, a ‘zine’, and a stay at home march.
Take Back the Night is a worldwide effort to combat sexual violence and violence against women. Since 2018, a small group of BU students have been organizing a march in solidarity with the worldwide movement.
“It’s really a march to bring the BU community together,” said Anika Malone, one of the head coordinators for this year’s march. “It gives a space for survivors to take back the voice, spaces, and power that was taken from them.”
Taking public health and safety into consideration, the Bishop’s University TBTN group have decided to approach their campaign in a different way for 2020. “We’ve really had to diversify things this year, considering we can’t conglomerate,” said Malone. “We’ve actually redone everything for the event, starting with the forum.”
For two years now, the BU TBTN group has hosted a forum for students to discuss their concerns about sexual assault and gender-based violence on campus. This year’s forum took place last week and was both in person and streamed virtually. “The forum is really what sets the tone for the whole year,” said Scotia Sharpe, the second coordinator for the march. “It’s where students bring their complaints, ideas, and comments about what they want to see done in the community, and we base our work off of the response.”
From the forum rose a list of desired actions from Bishop’s students which includes support groups for men, extra security cameras and light in certain areas of campus, healthy sexual education, and a perpetrator data bank. These demands are all centered on minimizing harm in their community and moving forward to a safer, healthier university campus, and will be addressed by the new Sexual Culture Committee.

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