Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

‘Roadrunners unite, take back the night’

PEACE Center hosts Take Back The Night to empower those affected by dating and domestic violence

Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Student Union Paseo last Tuesday to support survivors of domestic violence and explore the resources available to them on and off campus at the annual Take Back the Night event. The event featured a variety of activities, including a resource fair, two performances by Overly Chromatic, a march around campus, poetry from the Student Poetry Society and a speak-out.

Take Back the Night is an international event and nonprofit organization that hosts hundreds of events, including marches, rallies and vigils, in more than 30 countries annually. At UTSA, the Center for Collegiate Recovery, the PEACE Center and Wellbeing Services coordinate the event each year. 

Since 2013, the Recovery Center (JPL 4.02.08) has offered support and services to students recovering from substance abuse disorders and other addictions. Established five years later, the Center for Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Consultation and Empowerment, or the PEACE Center (SU 1.02.04), is part of UTSA’s initiative to expand the resources necessary to address sexual misconduct prevention and victim advocacy. Both initiatives fall under Wellbeing Services, whose mission is to collaborate with staff, faculty and student groups to promote and support student success, health and wellbeing.

The event began with an a cappella performance of “Night Changes” by One Direction from UTSA’s competitive team, Overly Chromatic

“The word [night] was originally meant to be taken literally to express the fear that many women feel during the night,” Campus Victim Advocate Ashley Fitzgerald said. “But [it] has since changed to symbolize our fear of violence in general.”

In describing the history of Take Back the Night, Fitzgerald explained that domestic violence marches did not always include men, as the deliberate inclusion of women “demonstrate[d] that women united can resist any environment.” However, many activists argued that male allies and survivors should be able to march for victims and supporters of all identities.

“The mission of Take Back the Night has since grown to encompass all forms of violence against all persons,” Fitzgerald said. “The common purpose is to advocate for the right of everyone to feel safe from sexual violence, domestic violence and gender-based violence. As you march tonight, remember your voice, your channel [and] your presence will allow another person to tell their truth.”

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice provided UTSA with a three-year, $300,000 Campus Program grant to fund programming aimed at “reducing incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking among college students.” According to Senior Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Dean of Students LT Robinson, UTSA has since utilized this grant to expand the President’s Initiative on Preventing Sexual Assault and Misconduct to include services and education.

“This is a campus-wide effort focused on ensuring that we have strengthened policies, effective education and impactful advocacy resources that support survivors,” Robinson said. “We understand that advocacy is a step forward — in healing and empowerment.”

Following introductions from Overly Chromatic and each key speaker, the resource fair provided students with the opportunity to explore the resources on campus that help promote student safety and wellbeing. Each resource was presented by Prevention Specialist Danielle Rominski.

The UT Health Wellness 360 clinic offers students free health and mental health care, and the UTSA Police Department provides services like the Rowdy Watch Student Patrol for when students do not feel safe walking alone on campus. Additionally, the Behavioral Intervention Team was present to teach students about the importance of reporting disruptive or unusual behavior on campus. 

The Office of Equal Opportunity Services (Title IX), which investigates complaints on the basis of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct, and the Center for Civic Engagement, which organizes civic engagement initiatives on and off campus, were also in attendance to answer questions and hand out promotional items.

Delta Xi Nu, a multicultural sorority at UTSA, was present to show their support and endorse their philanthropy event, Little Black Dress. The annual event, which took place last Friday, aims to bring awareness to domestic violence against women.

In addition to the support and resources provided by UTSA, the event promoted a variety of off-campus organizations that support and empower survivors of domestic or sexual violence. 

These organizations include Planned Parenthood, which offers confidential and affordable reproductive health care services at five locations across San Antonio, the Rape Crisis Center, which provides free services such as confidential counseling and 24-hour crisis intervention, Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc., which provides support and resources to victims of domestic violence and Awaaz San Antonio, whose mission is to promote healthy relationships and empower South Asian families affected by family violence.

After each resource was introduced, Overly Chromatic returned to the stage to perform a cover of “Lose Control” by Teddy Swims as signs reading “‘No’ is a complete sentence” and “Tell your story: speak out” were distributed to the group for the march around campus.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is held throughout October to unite communities and advocacy organizations to end domestic violence. There are many ways to get involved and help prevent violence on campus, such as attending Green Dot Bystander Intervention training, participating in a rally or joining the Coordinated Community Response Team at UTSA. For more information regarding UTSA’s Safe Campus resources, visit

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About the Contributor
Jessica McLaren
Jessica McLaren, News Editor
Jessica McLaren is a senior digital communications student. She is from Austin, Texas, and she has been working with The Paisano for several years now — first as a staff writer and now as the News Editor. Though she has loved to write for virtually her entire life, Jess only recently discovered her passion for visual design through her studies at UTSA. She values open-mindedness and compassion and believes the media is a powerful tool that can be used to strengthen the forces of humanity if used mindfully. Once she graduates, Jess plans to use her expertise in writing, editing and design to help people better understand themselves and the world around them by creating compelling and engaging communication campaigns as a self-employed writer and designer. When she’s not writing an article or researching for one, you can usually find her reading a book about philosophy with a good cup of coffee.

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