Taking Back the Night

BC United members inform students on safety, through outside activities


Jaia Dunbar

First-year Parker Sale and senior Lauren Eye after decorating their t-shirts during Take Back the Night. Take Back the Night focused on being a safe space for survivors of sexual assault and was hosted by BC United.

Jaia Dunbar and Albert Mensah

Bridgewater, Va. – Bridgewater College’s BC United hosted a Take Back the Night event on-campus as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Members of BC United held glow yoga and t-shirt decorating to raise awareness.

Take Back the Night is an event that, prior to the pandemic, was held annually to honor survivors of sexual violence. 

“The event is focused on survivors and survivorship and honoring them,” said Director of Student Wellness Shannon Pope. “Essentially, it is a night to get together and honor the survivors that we know are in our community.”

The college has hosted various versions of Take Back the Night the past few years, ranging from speak-out events to this year’s glow yoga.

 “This year we had about 35-40 people show up, and it was pretty exciting to have such a good turnout,” said Pope.

Events like this “give an opportunity to give an outlet for tough conversations that people don’t always want to have,” said BC United member and senior Lily Stonecipher.

BC United provides students with information about being safe throughout the year. Some of the work they do includes conducting seminars with athletes about alcohol and informing incoming students about community resources. 

“It’s impacted the campus significantly, especially with the athletes and how we do presentations on safe drinking and healthy relationships,” said BC United member and senior Linsey Winkles. “We also talk to the freshmen, so I think that helps them when they come in to see how we as a community support each other and look out for each other.” 

Many students enjoyed the event and thought it was a positive experience and a good way to spread awareness.

“I thought it was fun and a good way to de-stress while being surrounded by a good community,” said sophomore Karis David. 

“This event was so important to bring awareness to those who are victims of sexual assault,” said senior Lauren Eye. “A beautiful place to gather and support people who need it, no matter their experience with it.”

“I thought it was great being around people and being able to support each other while also paying respects to one another,” said senior Bryce Tonia. 

Outside of bringing awareness to sexual assault, the yoga and decorating of t-shirts brought members the community together.

“I felt like it was wonderful to participate in yoga, sit with friends, make new ones and take back the night,” said Eye.

“Glow yoga did help me relieve a lot of stress and negative energy; it also helped me relax my body and control my breathing,” said Tonia. “Although my shirt did not come out as nice as I wanted it to, it was a fun experience, and I am glad I went to the event.”

While the event was focused on survivors, supporters of people who have experienced sexual assault also felt seen during it. 

“As a participant, I felt extremely comfortable and safe in the group even though it was open to anyone,” said first-year Parker Sale. “Everyone who ran the event was super calming and assuring, even though some of us came as supporters and not sexual assault victims.”

BC United recommends for students to attend their tabling activities and events if they are interested in being more involved. 

“People coming to tabling events and interacting with us really helps with getting our message out there,” said Winkles.