Safe Passage hosts annual Take Back The Night


Protesters demonstrating views against Sexual Violence in front of Van Orthopedic, during Take Back the Night Monday night. ( Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon | Northern Star )

By Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon, News Reporter

DeKALB – In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, survivors of sexual and domestic violence gathered in protest of sexual violence at the Egyptian Theatre Monday.

With a crowd of over 40 people, the Take Back the Night event presented by Safe Passage began by rallying around the perimeter of First Street.

Survivors and allies gathered in unity with posters protesting against sexual violence while shouting chants like “Claim our bodies, claim our rights, take a stand, take back the night!” Throughout the march, drivers passing by on the road showed their support by honking.

Nia Norris, director of communication and prevention for Safe Passage, said the event is held to support survivors of sexual violence.

“Take Back The Night is the act of reclaiming the night from sexual assault,” Norris said.  “April is Sexual Assault Awarness Month, so every April we have this event.”

During the event, attendees were welcome to share their experiences and express how Safe Passage has helped them overcome difficult periods in their lives. As survivors shared their emotional testimonies, Safe Passage members stood by their side as they began to weep.

Safe Passage is the only sexual and domestic violence crisis center in DeKalb. Its mission is to provide survivors with free resources such as counseling and shelter regardless of age or gender

Posters with images of individuals of different sizes, shapes and colors were displayed with a blue string to represent the connection of all people who experience violence.

Melita Inthabandith, a sophomore nursing major at NIU, said her reason for attending was to experience the safety the event provides and to hear the stories of other survivors.

“When I come to these kinds of things, it’s really hard to speak about my story,” Inthabandith said. “But it’s nice to know that there is a really safe environment that is judgment free and that fellow survivors can take the time to actually share their story.”

Rep. Lauren Underwood recently announced in her statement for Community Project Funding FY24 that $2.5 million would be used to support DeKalb County Safe Passage by constructing a 24/7 emergency shelter that will provide space for legal and medical services and counseling, according to a press release from Underwood’s team.

Members of Safe Passage concluded the event with breathing exercises and offered tools to help decrease anxiety.