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Students march to show support for sexual assault survivors

“Shatter the silence, end the violence,” they chanted.

First-year Margo Davison, the organizer of the “Change the Night” event, said she counted about 200 people who participated in some capacity and 130 who marched.

Davison said she hopes the event helps sexual assault survivors feel safe on campus.

“I hope that they just know there are a lot of people out there that believe them and that will be willing to hear their side of the story and support them,” she said. “I’m hoping they can find some healing and support through this march.”

The path of the march took participants past Fraternity Court on the way to Franklin Street, which Davison said was intentional.

“Initially we were going to walk by all parts of campus that have history of having sexual assaults there, but it was just too long,” she said. “So I thought that was an important testimony to give by walking past frat court.”

While the marchers crossed Cameron Avenue on their way back to the Pit, a male voice shouted “Build a wall!” from a passing car, to which a marcher responded “Go fuck yourself!”

“I’m just astounded that that kind of ignorant, disrespectful behavior is, like, a thing now,” Shaylyn Clancy, a sophomore participant, said of the passerby’s comment.

Hannah Petersen, a senior who marched in the event, gave a quote in between chanting her favorite catch-phrase of the night — “Hey, hey, ho, ho, patriarchy’s got to go!”

“To me, it’s a whole event centered around people coming together and expressing our disappointment with the culture that allows us to be able to fear this,” Petersen said. “We spend our whole lives being told we have to be scared of the night and this is an event that’s centered around taking back what we shouldn’t have to be scared of.”

The event began in the Pit with performances by several a capella groups, including the Loreleis, Tar Heel Voices, Cadence and Psalm 100. Cadence continued to sing during the early stages of the march.

The soloist for Psalm 100’s second song, Maggie Fahey, said she has personally experienced a level of personal violence, but her faith in God got her through it.

“About four years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship,” Fahey said. “I believe that it is God who is my comforter, who was able to strengthen me during that time in my life and to help me find peace and to really just overcome that experience.”

During the march, protestors shouted several phrases including “2-4-6-8, no more date rape.”

Caroline Mueller, a first-year protester, said the event raised awareness of sexual assault and violence.

“There’s about a one in four chance that women on this campus will experience interpersonal violence of this sort, so this event is to raise awareness of that and also to hope to change that,” Mueller said.

In 2015, the event was called “Take Back the Night,” but Davison said the name was changed to “Change the Night” because of some negative feedback.

“There seemed to be some negative connotations with ‘Take Back the Night,’ and I just wanted to be sure there was no negativity, no problems with anything involving this march,” she said. “I wanted everyone to feel at ease and supported.”

Davison said she was happy with how the event turned out.

“I just hope that this was a good event that brought unity and healing to our campus,” Davison said.

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