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Purdue students Take Back the Night to stand against sexual assault

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Posted at 10:36 AM, Oct 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-24 11:34:29-04

WEST LAFAYETTE — "Take back the day, take back the night, claim our bodies, claim our rights," Purdue students chanted Friday night.

Take Back the Night is an international march to end sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Grace Gochnauer is the president of #MeToo Purdue.

"We're taking back the night. We're supporting the people who went through this, and we never want it to happen again." she said.

She shared her story of being assaulted in her freshman year.

"He snored, somehow so peacefully, next to me, sleeping as if he hadn't just held me down telling me 'it'll be over soon' as he held me down with his forearm pressed against my chest," she said.

This is the first Take Back the Night march at Purdue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. If Indiana's near-total abortion ban goes in effect, rape survivors will only have 10 weeks to access abortion care.

"I've seen so many signs that say a rapist can now choose their victim. And it's sickening, it's disgusting, and of course it puts more people on edge," president of IUPUI's Student Alliance for Equality (SAFE), Noah Thomas, said.

ONE YEAR AGO: Purdue students demand change after reports of sexual assault on campus | Purdue students continue their push for change & accountability after sexual assault reports

Thomas came to the march in solidarity.

"When you're assaulted, you feel like all of your rights have been violated by one person or a justice system. Now it feels like they're violated by an entire country. And it's terrifying. Because now you don't just have to worry what happens if you're a victim of interpersonal violence, but now you have to worry about what your choices are afterwards. So it does make it feel a lot heavier, a lot scarier, and a lot worse," Gochnauer said.

The fear fades as Gochnauer marches because she's not alone. Survivors at home aren't alone either.

"I want you to know that no matter what, you being a survivor is not a world of comparison. You are valued, you are loved, and you are 100% believed," she said.

If you or someone you know experienced a sexual assault, help is available.