Take Back the Night recognizes survivors of sexual abuse

Sexual violence survivors and their advocates gathered at an annual event which uses music and arts to highlight the trauma for survivors of sexual violence.
Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 10:45 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - Nourishing support from people who are survivors of sexual violence as they and their advocates gathered at the University Pavilion in downtown Flint Wednesday night for an event called Take Back the Night.

Their stories of pain come with a healing power.

“I recognize that I am not alone in terms of survivorship,” a speaker at the event said.

That is what Take Back the Night is all about.

The annual event uses music and arts to highlight the trauma for survivors of sexual violence.

“This is often an opportunity for survivors to share their stories without being judged or without having to be retraumatized at all,” Samara Hough, the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality at UM-Flint, said.

Take Back the Night is an international event. Wednesday’s event was at UM-Flint’s university in collaboration with Mott Community College, Kettering University, and The Greater Flint YWCA.

“It’s really giving them their power back and empowering them to share their stories and to break the silence around violence,” Hough said.

Flint native and activist Cherisse Bradley, founder of I Found My Voice, said the event allows survivors to bond through their pain.

“We all have a common ground because we’ve all been through the same thing,” Bradley said.

According to the Center for Family Justice, one in four women and one in six men are sexually abused in their lifetime. Survivors say it is the support that helps them get through it.

“There’s no growth without support. It’s very important,” Bradley said. “Sometimes it doesn’t come from your biological family, but there are other people you can meet outside of your family that can most definitely become family and become a support system for you.”

“Where we once sat in silence and shame now, we are all thriving in dynamic ways,” I Found My Voice member Felicia McGee said.

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