Have We Taken Back the Night Yet?


Joanne McQueen helped to set up the first “Take Back the Night” march at Miami University through her efforts in the NOW chapter. I found a newspaper clipping that talked about the march and how it was sponsored by the Oxford chapter of NOW. Its goal was to “let people know that rapes happen in Oxford.” Essentially, Joanne and friends marched to bring awareness to the sexual assaults that happen on campus, at a time when it was not routinely talked about- something that was not even really taken seriously by the University at that time. This clipping of the march got me thinking about how we still currently have the same march being put on at Miami after all these years. There are various programs Miami has for rape awareness and education, with a touch of prevention tossed in. Things like Take Back the Night, The Clothesline Project, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and It’s On US are some of the programs I have encountered during my research of campus sexual assault education, awareness, and prevention at Miami.

The more research I do into past campus sexual assault programs on campus and comparing it to current campus sexual assault programs, the more I am convinced that there is a serious lack of prevention programs at Miami, let alone across the entire country collectively. I found that the most effective prevention is one that involve the bystander and programs that focus on more of a male-centered prevention. I find it very interesting that this program McQueen first put on at Miami is still something that occurs. It’s awesome to think that this effort didn’t fall to the wayside. I am proud of women for sticking to it but in the same vein, I’m upset with society for focusing too heavily on women prevention and awareness programs while seemingly placing the blame and burden on the women instead of teaching men and our peers to not rape and to intervene when they could. During my research into bystander prevention, I found a few programs that actually have been proven beneficial in implementation studies at other Universities. These include a program called the Green Dot project. Its focus is bystander prevention and has been found to be beneficial at increasing bystander intervention and decreasing the incidences of rape on campus. That makes me think that although programs like, Take Back the Night, are great at increasing awareness of the occurrence of campus sexual assault but I feel like we are at a place now where we need to move beyond that and actually start implementing programs that actually work at PREVENTION!

Posted 15th November 2016