Aline Jesus Rafi is the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention Education and Response at Emory. She has been working in the field of sexual assault prevention since 2000.
1. What is the purpose of Take Back the Night, and what does this event primarily seek to accomplish?
From the 1970s through present day, Take Back The Night (TBTN) events have been held by colleges, universities and community organizations dedicated to helping all people achieve safety and empowerment. Events including candlelight vigils, speak outs, marches and rallies are held in all corners of the globe. All events strive to bring awareness to the problem of sexual violence and support those who have been victimized.
2. How long have you been involved with these issues?
I have been working in the field of sexual assault prevention education and response for nine years. I have been at Emory serving in this position since fall 2007.
3. How long has Take Back the Night been around at Emory?
This will be the fifth TBTN at Emory.
3. How do you think it’s perceived by the general public at Emory?
I think the events are well-received, but not always well-attended. Sexual violence is a difficult and emotional topic and some of the events can be very challenging. However, one of the goals of TBTN is to support survivors of sexual violence, therefore, we hope to have a good turnout this year.
5. Do you think it’s more or less important at Emory than at other college campuses?
In general, Emory’s TBTN is quite new. Therefore many people are not aware or don’t know what TBTN is about. However, Emory’s TBTN continues to grow. Every year we have more and more people in attendance.
6. How does this event address possible concerns of the male population at Emory?
Emory’s TBTN is open to both men and women, and there are several men involved in the organization of the events. Additionally, many men are also survivors of sexual violence and should be provided with support and understanding, therefore TBTN is completely relevant to everyone. Sexual assault is not a women’s issue; men’s involvement is paramount if we are to reduce the incidence of sexual violence.
7. What are your goals on a larger scale and your goals that go past the Emory community?
Sexual Assault Prevention Education and Response at Emory University aims to reduce the occurrence of sexual assault by creating a community intolerant of sexual violence with expectations of communication and respect between and among genders. We strive to empower students to disclose sexual assault and to have access to medical, mental, health and advocacy services.
8. What else do you have planned for this year?
This year the students who organize TBTN hosted a band party and candlelight vigil on Friday, Oct. 16. The candlelight vigil was a new event this year.
There will be a workshop on sex, communication and consent on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and the Speak Out and Rally on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
9. What is the one statistic about sexual assault you think most people would find the most surprising?
For some reason, the “one-in-four” statistic (that one in four women in college experience sexual assault) still seem to surprise many people. Most of the sexual assault-related statistics seem to be surprising as myths about sexual assault are still very prevalent.
10. What resources are there at Emory that most people may not know about?
I think many students don’t know that I am on campus and available to provide confidential consultations and support. I am located at Student Health (1525 Clifton Rd.).
Students can make appointments with me using the patient portal, or via telephone.
— Interview by Asst. Editorials Editor Catherine Cai