Girl Scouts from local troops will be recognized for their participation in Picatinny Arsenal’s ‘Take Back The Night’ walk on April 22.
Five eighth-graders from Troop 96565, and two ninth-graders from Troop 95365, both of Sparta, took part in the walk, which ran from 6 – 10 p.m., in support of the event coordinated by Picatinny Arsenal’s Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) office.
‘Take Back The Night’ is the earliest worldwide movement to stand against sexual violence. Events began in the 1960s in Belgium and England with protests about women not feeling safe walking down the street alone at night. In 1973, in the United States, a group of women at the University of Southern Florida dressed in black sheets, held broomsticks, and marched through campus demanding a women’s center.
In 1975, a crowd in Philadelphia held a Take Back The Night Event to protest the murder of a microbiologist walking home after work. In the 70s, San Francisco had a number of rallies to protest “snuff” pornography and violence against women.
These early protests sparked hundreds of later events on college campuses and in communities of all sizes and locations, all hoping to bring awareness to sexual violence and provide support for victims. More and more communities have since joined the movement around the world to hold events related to their goals of support and awareness.
The Girl Scouts from Sparta will be presented with the ‘Walk for a Cause’ patch by troop leader Sandy Andrade.
“We were happy to be involved in this event for such a great cause and we definitely did more walking than we thought we would,” Andrade said. “It was a nice, well organized event and we were happy to be a part of it.”
Andrade said that she felt the walk, which was led by Alberta Cole, Picatinny’s Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, was a significant event for the young women to take part it.
“They should have an awareness of the dangers of sexual assault,” Andrade said. “They were happy to volunteer their time for a good cause.”
In total, 35 people participated in this year’s walk at Picatinny, the first time the Arsenal had ever hosted the event. The calculated total distance walked among the group was 157.2 miles.
“I appreciated all of the support from the chain of command for allowing me to host this inaugural event,” Cole said. “Hopefully there will be more to follow. I appreciate the community outreach this fostered with the surrounding community. In the field of sexual violence, Picatinny Arsenal looks to the support of the Morris County Sexual Assault Center and Perform Care (just to name a few agencies) to help our survivors and their family’s recover from this horrendous and traumatic experience. I appreciated the Girls Scouts coming out. They are young women who understood the reason they were out there. It was a good event for Picatinny Arsenal and we are looking forward to doing this event again next year!”