Survivors and advocates unite to take back the night


Aurelia Harrison

(from left) Liam Tate, Autumn Buhl, and Younity Program Director Kate Wise hold signs in support of Take Back the Night


Cries of “My body, my choice”, and “How I dress does not mean yes” filled the streets of downtown Gloucester last Thursday night during the Take Back The Night march against sexual and domestic violence. 

The march and subsequent gathering in Gloucester’s Younity Center is an annual event organized by a local group of activists, therapists, and volunteers in an effort to raise awareness about the pressing issues of sexual assault and domestic abuse. 

“We want to build a space for change and healing, not just awareness,” Amber Gaumnitz, one of the organizers, said. “We’re working towards finding ways to lift people up, and amplify their voices.” Gaumnitz is a domestic abuse crisis counselor, and works closely with victims of violence.

The event after the march featured a night of poetry, music, and speeches relating to sexual assault, all performed by members of the community. The gathering was held in the Younity Center, a resource for Gloucester’s young people. The center, led by director Kate Wise and youth peer coordinator Shaina Doberman, offers walk-in therapy, group counseling, and a myriad of creative events and workshops.

“This place is meant to be a safe space for everyone,” Wise said. “We are largely youth-run, and all of our logos and lots of our initiatives are run and designed by them.”

Several GHS students were in attendance, seen in the streets protesting and presenting at the gathering itself. Spike Lorenzana, a senior at GHS, performed “Poem About My Rights” by poet June Jordan. 

“I’m passionate about the cause,” Lorenzana said. “I knew that I could read it. I have a strong voice, and it needed to be read in a strong voice. It’s a heavy poem.” 

Many GHS students came out to support the cause

“I’m here because I think it’s so important to support people who have struggled with sexual assault,” Kyia Karvales, a junior at GHS, said. “They deserve support and care, and it’s an important issue because of how often it happens. It’s a real issue, it’s not just something people make up.”

Karvales attended the event with a group of her friends, all GHS students who are passionate about advocating for and support victims of violence.

“For victims of sexual assault, having a group behind you is one of the best things,” Camilla Wilkens-Bowens, a junior at GHS, said. “When you have a support system, you can go to them for help and you don’t have to be alone.”