A wake-up call: PSU takes back the night for sexual assault awareness

Portland State Women’s Resource Center is hosting the annual Take Back the Night on April 26, as well as various other events as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

TBTN is an international event that works to end sexual, relationship and domestic violence. It began in the 1970s, when people marched in response to a series of violent crimes against women. The official TBTN organization formed in 2001, and the WRC has been sponsoring events annually since 2002.

This year, the event will be located at the Smith Memorial Student Union, where there will be workshops and activities throughout the day.

The Take Back the Day Symposium will occur from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is part of the 2016 Pacific Northwest Higher Education Best Practices Conference on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response.

According the the WRC website, “The focus of the symposium ​will be on anti-racist sexual violence prevention, response practices, and ​educational ​dialogue​.”

Dr. Treva Lindsey, assistant professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Ohio State University will be the keynote speaker. Her speech, will be about how intersectionality ties in with Title IX and sexual assault on campuses.

There will also be student-led workshops by the University of Oregon Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team. They will put on an “original performance on the intersections of oppression and identity with sexual violence” according to the event website.

TBTN will follow the symposium from 5:30-9 p.m. and will feature queer disabled femme writer and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha as keynote.

“I’m looking forward to hearing Leah speak,” said Tayler Oakes, head of the Publicity and Social Media Team of the TBTN committee. “Just having that kind of character on campus would be really cool.”

Along with guest speakers, there will be student contributions as well, and participants will march around campus with signs.

“We have one of our committee members singing and she’s a student as well,” said Kimberly Becerra, TBTN Committee member and emcee for the event. “We’re trying to make it very student-led and [include] a lot of student contributions.”

The WRC hosted various other events to lead up to TBTN.

On Tuesday and Thursday last week, individuals gathered at the Women’s Resource Center for the sign-making event for the march.

“The signs are very inclusive,” Becerra said. “We have some signs in Spanish and chants as well.”

Oakes was in charge of the planning behind the poster-making event, and is in charge of distributing posters, getting out press releases and updating the PSU Take Back the Night Facebook page.

#PDXTBTN was also created so people can participate on social media during the event.

Other workshops included Survivor Speak Out on April 19, an event dedicated to sexual assault survivors in which they shared their stories and YWCA Sexual Assault Dynamics to understand the roots of sexual violence and how marginalized communities are more vulnerable than others.

Students participated in Giant Volleyball on April 21, where participants learned more about TBTN while enjoying a volleyball game with an oversized volleyball.

“There’s a lot of really cool workshops,” Becerra said. “I’ve been to a lot of marches, but I think going to symposiums and workshops is really important because you get other people’s’ experiences and knowledge and get to participate in that.”

They also held fundraisers, such as the Zumbathon and bake sales. Proceeds help the WRC provide safe shelter for women fleeing domestic violence.

TBTN committee had weekly meetings to plan the events.

“[At the meetings] we addressed every new item we should add,” Becerra said. “The hashtag just happened last week, so it’s really cool that we can keep up with each other even though we have so many different committee positions.”

The TKTN Committee encourages both students and non-students to come and participate.

Sexual Assault Statistics

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

  • 1 in 5 women have experienced completed or attempted rape.
  • Most victims first experienced sexual violence before age 25.

US Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics

  • In 2005-10, females who were age 34 or younger, who lived in lower income households (less than $25,000), and who lived in rural areas had some of the highest rates of sexual violence.
  • In 2005-10, about 55 percent of rape or sexual assault victimizations occurred at or near the victim’s home, and another 12 percent occurred at or near the home of a friend, relative, or acquaintance.

One in Four

  • 25 percent of women and 16% of men have been sexually abused as children.
  • For men who are abused as children, 62 percent of their offenders were men, 38% were women.
  • For women abused as children, 92 percent of perpetrators were men. Approximately 1 in 5 Black (22.0 percent) and White non-Hispanic (19 percent) women, and 1 in 7 Hispanic women (15 percent) in the United States have experienced rape at some point in their lives.
  • More than one-quarter of women (27 percent) who identified as American Indian or as Alaska Native and 1 in 3 women (34 percent) who identified as multiracial non-Hispanic have experienced rape in their lifetime.
  • For female rape survivors, 98.1 percent of the time a man was the perpetrator.
  • For male rape survivors, 93 percent of the time, a man was the perpetrator.
  • 9 percent of college men admit to acts meeting the legal definition of either rape or attempted rape.

The Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct

  • 75 percent of all transgender, gender expansive, and questioning students reported experiencing sexual harassment on campus, in a survey conducted by the Association of American Universities.
  • A significant percentage of students say they did not report because they were “embarrassed, ashamed or that it would be too emotionally difficult” or “did not think anything would be done about it.”
  • About a quarter of the students generally believe they are knowledgeable about the resources available related to sexual assault and misconduct.


If you are someone you know is a victim of sexual violence, there are multiple resources both on and off campus that are available.

Call 911 in case of an emergency.

On Campus

Students can visit the WRC, a facility inclusive of all backgrounds.

The WRC mission statement says: “The Portland State University Women’s Resource Center advocates for the best educational and campus experience for all members of our community. We accomplish this by advancing social justice, ensuring access to personal empowerment for women, and by working toward a safe and healthy campus.”

The WRC is open 9:00-5:00pm Monday through Friday. The WRC provides a safe space where students can study, eat and meet, as well as connect students to other resources and organizations.

The Center for Student Health and Counseling provides health, counseling and testing services for students.

Fully incorporated into SHAC, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program supports student survivors of sexual misconduct. A police report does not have to be made to receive SANE services.

SHAC is open Monday through Friday 9-5 p.m.

PSU’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response website

This site features numerous resources for getting help, reporting and recieving medical attention in times of crisis. It also lists faculty and staff resources, which includes faculty and staff conduct and reporting obligations, employee and community resource list and a printable contact list for students. Furthermore, it overviews victim’s rights and highlights the Campus Safety Module—a learning module required for all students to take to create a safer campus.

Shattuck Hall, 1914 SW Park, Suite 148

University Center Building, 1880 SW 6th Ave., Suite 200

Montgomery Hall, 1802 SW 10th& Montgomery

Filing a Student Conduct Code Complaint via the Office of the Dean of Student Life (for incidents perpetrated by PSU students)
(503) 725-4422
[email protected]

Filing a complaint with the Office of Equity and Compliance (for incidents perpetrated by PSU faculty or staff) and Portland State University’s Title IX Coordinator
(503) 725-5919
[email protected]
Market Center Building, 1600 SW Fourth Ave., Suite 830


  • If help is needed outside of SHAC hours, OHSU, PSU’s closest hospital, has a 24-hour emergency room service and provides SANE services.
  • The Portland Women’s Crisis Line also offers 24-hour support for survivors of sexual violence. In addition to the crisis line, PWCL has in-person sexual assault response 24/7 and specialized advocacy for those in special populations such as homelessness and support groups hosted throughout the year.
  • The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office are further there for survivors through the legal and medical process.

Portland Women’s Crisis Line
888-235-5333 (toll free)

Portland Police Bureau
Emergency number: 9-1-1
Non-emergency number: (503) 823-3333
PSU will assist victims in notifying PPB, if the student requests assistance.

Additional Resources

RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the nation, constitutes of connecting victims to services, educating the public on the visibility of sexual violence, improving public policy and providing consultation to other institutions. RAINN serves millions a year across the US, using media and other forms of outreach.

RAINN hotline
1-800-656-HOPE. Help is free, confidential and available 24/7.
Spanish website

Contact your local emergency services at 9-1-1