(Buffalo, N.Y.) – Students at SUNY Buffalo State used song, poetry and personal stories to convey messages about sexual assault at the annual “Take Back the Night” event April 10.
The event is intended to empower survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through creative works.
Take Back the Night is a national initiative that takes place on campuses all over the country, but Buffalo State’s event is unique because it uses poetry and song.
“I think Take Back the Night is about being open and honest with something that people work extremely hard to hide,” said Ethan Milton-Pope, an organizer the event.
Some of this year’s themes included “clothing is not consent” and “do your part Buffalo State,” which is also the motto for the campus Bystander Intervention program.
Tammy Kresege, assistant director for health promotions at Weigel Health Center, said she wants students to take personal responsibility and think about how they would help someone in a dangerous situation.
“People who have been involved in sexual assault get to open up and let loose and release whatever they have built up inside of them,“ said Terri Massenberg, a social work major and intern at Weigel Health Center.
For the first time, a student directed and oversaw all of the performances and rehearsals.
Derick Sherrier, a theater major who has his own production company on campus, said he wanted to get involved after experiencing last year’s event as an audience member.
Sherrier said he already has students contacting him about participating in the next show in November.
* Tiffany Channer contributed to this report.