Morgan Whittler Reflects on TBTN
“As an involved member of Loyola’s gender equity organization the idea of Take Back the Night has always intrigued me. I can remember my reluctance in going my first year at Loyola. I was amazed that sexual assault survivors voluntarily came forward and told their stories. Most clearly I remember being horrified that some survivors hadn’t reported the wrongs done to then—even more so that some didn’t want to take action.
As some one who has not experienced sexual assault, I didn’t understand why someone wouldn’t come forward. Why wouldn’t they want their attacker to be held accountable? How is the system supposed to work and get better if the victims of these crimes don’t come forward?
I realized in my fervor for the system to work I’d forgotten about the survivors. I’d dehumanized the problem and in the process disrespected these brave survivors who were coming forward. Take Back the Night has taught me that survivors come first. Survivors can still make their own decisions and must be allowed to do so. As an advocate my role is to support them and their choices—not push a systematic agenda.
To me Take Back the Night is about respect. It’s an opportunity to learn what actually constitutes respect and support. For me Take Back the Night is a reminder about the boundaries of my advocacy and provides a lesson on the various ways someone can be a survivor.”
- Morgan is a senior, member of SAGE, and has actively participated in planning TBTN for two years.