Lehman Community Will ‘Take Back the Night’ April 24

April 14, 2013 9:57 am Counseling Center, Student Affairs, Students

In the next two weeks, the Counseling Center will host a series of events aimed at increasing awareness on issues of sexual violence, abuse, and harassment in our communities, culminating with its annual Take Back the Night event on Wednesday, April 24. The events will include a street fair benefiting a local shelter, special performances, and survivor accounts from guest speakers.

The Office of Campus Life will kick things off on Wednesday, April 17, with a street fair to benefit the Sarah Burke House, which is run by Sanctuary for Families. The fair will take place from 3-5 p.m. in front of the Music Building. From 3:30-4:30 p.m., the Rainbow Alliance will hold a “Day of Silence” event where participants will be asked to take a vow of silence as an expression of solidarity for LGBT individuals who have been victims of bullying and harassment in schools.

On Wednesday, April 24, there will be a Community Resource Fair from 2-5 p.m. on the Campus Walkway, featuring the Lehman College Clothesline Project created by Peer Educators and the Craft of Caring Quilt Project by students in the Community Engagement and New Student Programs.

Take Back the Night

The Take Back the Night program will officially begin at 5 p.m. on April 24 in the Lovinger Theatre, with a special introduction by New York State Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, representative of the 80th District in the Bronx. Other speakers will include Bronx teacher Lydia Cuomo, a rape survivor who is actively working to propose legislation to redefine rape in New York State; Andrew Willis, director of the Stop Abuse Campaign; and Patxy Peguero,  a Lehman senior who will share his own survivor story.

Cuomo recently made headline news when she stepped forward as the woman who had been raped at gunpoint by a NYPD police officer. The case went to trial and her attacker was found guilty of sexual assault, but not rape—in New York State, the definition of rape extends only to vaginal penetration. Cuomo is now urging lawmakers to change the way rape is defined in the books.

Business entrepreneur Andrew Willis was born in Hong Kong and went to school in Great Britain. He is a survivor of child sexual abuse and domestic violence, and has dedicated much of his life to ending abuse through his work with the Stop Abuse Campaign.

The evening’s activities will continue with a performance of  “Price of Silence” and a candle light vigil along the campus walkway. The program will conclude with a speak out session, where members of the audience will be encouraged to share their stories.

Organizers have been preparing for this annual event since the beginning of the academic year. In December and January, the Counseling Center held a contest for a new Take Back the Night logo. The new logo, designed by Student Government Association President Rafael Abbondanza, will be featured on t-shirts, buttons, and tote bags. In addition, organizers worked with students and staff members to create a gallery of t-shirts with varying messages of hope and the devastating effects of abuse. The t-shirts can be seen now outside the Old Gym Building.

For more information on this event, call 718-960-8761.