If you or someone you know has been domestically or sexually assaulted, contact the police or the Tompkins County Advocacy Center. The center provides free services for people of any race, ability, religion, immigration status, gender identity or sexual orientation. The 24-hour hotline is (607) 277-5000 and more information about the center can be found here. 

ITHACA, N.Y. — Hundreds of people are expected to Take Back the Night Friday during the 38th annual march and rally in support of domestic and sexual violence survivors.

“This year, we have a schedule that’s bursting at the seams,” said one of the organizers Naomi Barry, who works at the Tompkins County Advocacy Center.

She said the 2017 theme is ‘Healing Through Storytelling’ and invites people to share personal stories about how domestic or sexual violence has impacted their life.

Barry said the theme stems from the idea that “a lot of healing starts from telling your story and naming it.” Photos and video will not be permitted during the impromptu personal storytelling.

Barry said three separate marches are happening Friday, all convening at 7 p.m. on the Ithaca Commons in front of the Bernie Milton Pavilion.

The first march leaves Ithaca College from Trextor Circle at 6:15 p.m. Then a group leaves from Ho Plaza at Cornell at 6:30 p.m. The final march leaves from the Greater Ithaca Activities Center at 301 W. Court St. at 6:45 p.m.

In addition to personal stories, performances, and speeches, keynote speaker Michelle Courtney Berry — a former City of Ithaca Alderperson and the former Poet Laureate of Tompkins County — will also be addressing the crowd.

Among other performers and speakers are the following:

  • Alyssa Duerksen, formerly of Misses Bitches
  • Elizabeth Enwright, singer songwriter
  • Rebecca Myers, short story
  • April West, singer songwriter
  • Angie Beeler, singer songwriter
  • Jaya the Trust Coach, speaking
  • April West, singer-songwriter
  • Joanna Patchett, spoken word
  • Karen Wyatte, singer-songwriter 

Barry said the march and rally are happening rain or shine, and it seems likely to rain during the event Friday — again. Rainfall during the annual April event is common. But she said that doesn’t dissuade people from attending the march.

“It’s actually really surprising — surprising and warming — how many people come out despite the weather,” Barry said.

As the event comes to a close just before 9 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held in memory of those who have lost their lives to domestic or sexual violence.

For more information about the event, check out the website or Facebook page. People who want to share stories of how domestic and sexual assault has impacted their life, but cannot attend the event, can share stories anonymously here. 

Featured image: People gather in Dewitt Park during the 2015 Take Back the Night event in Ithaca. 

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.