October 28, 2021

Take Back the Night returns to aid sex abuse victims

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Two students leave Corey Union to begin their walk Wednesday for the semi-annual Take Back the Night event at SUNY Cortland to support people people who have been sexually abused. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, students walked in groups of five or fewer throughout the day and a virtual event with a keynote speaker was held Wednesday night.

About 75 SUNY Cortland students marched across campus Wednesday in a semi-annual event to support victims of sexual abuse.

After a year without the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic closing campus and otherwise limiting activities, this year’s march took on a new form to comply with social distancing guidelines, as students marched in groups of no more than five and at 10-minute intervals.

A virtual event, including a keynote speaker, was planned Wednesday night to reintroduce more elements of the activity, sponsored Students Active for Ending Rape, or SAFER.

“It was a good experience, for a good cause,” said Mackenzie Collins, a freshman from Long Island, after walking with a few members of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.

Nia Vega, 19, a sophomore majoring in sociology with a concentration in criminology and a minor in computer applications, said Take Back the Night is an important educational program.

“We are raising awareness for anyone who has been sexually assaulted … so they have a voice,” said Vega, the secretary of SAFER and a New York City native.

“You don’t have to be silent,” added Hannah Newcomb, 20, a junior inclusive education major from Rochester. “We want to take back that power.”