Big Blue Take Back: Taking a Stand Against Violence
On Sept. 30, ODU hosted its third Big Blue Take Back Event in front of the Webb Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The purpose of the event was to speak out about all the possible crimes that can take place on campus pertaining to violence and sexual assault, as well as others of the sort. The audience was reminded that ODU has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to violence and sexual assault.
There were tables set up along Kaufman mall that represented all of the campus services and programs that are available to the students such as counseling services, The Women’s Center, Safe Space, ODU Police Department, ODU Out and more. There were representatives from each organization that spoke about the programs, services and upcoming events that they had to offer. ODU’s Safe Space organization table talked about how they offered ally training for people who wanted to help out the LGBTQ community.
There were even tables available to sign up for The Green Dot training program, which trains and informs participants on how to be active bystanders and being proactive when it comes to preventing traumatizing acts of violence. The attendees were given green glow sticks to represent that they were taking a stand against violence and assault on campus. Halfway into the program, there was poetry read, interpretive dancing, singing by the Ebony Impact Gospel Choir, a video presentation of ODU’s cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Till it Happens to You,’ and other prepared presentations by the talented ODU community artists.
All who attended took a pledge to take a stand and put an end to on campus violence. Following the pledge, there was a moment of silence for all the victims who had to go through the traumatizing experience of being violated. There was a march lead by ODU’s Men’s Basketball Team and the Dynasty Dancers, where everyone chanted “Monarchs Unite, Take Back the Night.’
Following the march, the member’s the Ebony Impact Gospel Choir sang and afterwards, the floor was open for victims to come forward and share their story if they were comfortable in doing so. Students came forward with their heartbreaking stories of relationship abuse, sexual assault, and other experiences that left them broken, vulnerable and violated.
Towards the end of the event, the topic of police brutality against the African-American community was brought up. The Black Lives Matter movement was mentioned and clarifications were made about how it wasn’t saying that other lives didn’t matter. There was emphasis on the fact that all lives do matter, but the fact is that currently an outrageous amount of crimes against the African-American community are taking place and innocent lives are being taken.
The emphasis of the event was both on being proactive and preventing campus violence and on the fact that there is help for those of us who unfortunately had to experience violation. This included all members of the community regardless of what their gender, race, ethnicity, occupation or religion.