Take Back the Night, a month-long campaign focused on sexual assault awareness and prevention, concluded Thursday with the Day of Healing event held on the Lawn. The event aimed to educate and provide resources to students and University community members regarding healthy self-care methods and practices. The event featured multiple interactive tables facilitated by TBTN and other organizations on Grounds for students to engage with, as well as a Purvelo cycling class being offered in the evening for students to release stress and tension while practicing self-care. Organizations in attendance included the Women’s Center, Unsung People, Flux, University Records, One Less, HOPE, Peer Health Educators and Ashtanga Yoga.
Third-year College student and co-chair of Day of Healing Gabrielle Woolley spoke about the significance of concluding the TBTN campaign with Day of Healing.
“I think Day of Healing is super important because most of the events this week covered pretty heavy and pretty intense topics — so to kind of close everything off with a more light-hearted, fun event” Woolley said. “Day of Healing just helps people move on from this week with the ideas on how to process and heal from the important information that they have learned.”
A variety of tables were present for students to engage with. One table handed out free granola bars to students with self-care tips attached. Another hosted a “write a love poem to yourself” activity. One table played live acoustic music while another offered a body positive activity that included a poster board with “I can” written on top of it where students could add sticky notes about something their body could do.
A table was run by the Peer Health Educators and included colorful string with which students could make friendship bracelets as well as coloring pages and pencils. This table also provided information about PHE and the resources they offer for students.
PHE is a student organization that falls under the Office of Health Promotion and Wellbeing with over 40 members and a common goal to promote college health and wellness. Third-year College student Elizabeth Chung operated the table and spoke about the resources they offer University students.
“We do patient education sessions, we do one-on-one sessions with students, and they can make appointments with us to just kind of talk with them about any sort of issues they want to talk to us about” Chung said. “That might be mental health, birth control, things like that and we can talk through all their resources with them.”
One Less, a female and gender nonconforming organization on Grounds, which is dedicated to to preventing sexual violence at the University, also hosted a table with various resources and activities for students.
“We have a self-care crossword puzzle which has questions about feminism, consent and then just healthy habits,” said Caitlin Kwalwasser, a third-year College student and member of One Less. “And we’re also giving out stickers that say ‘#MeToo’ and a little bit of information about the #MeToo movement and why it’s important to support and to promote a healthy environment here on Grounds.”
The Day of Healing co-chairs hosted a large table with various resources, activities, snacks, t-shirts and a raffle. Activities included a “make-your-own-care-package” station with free study materials and candy. The raffle tickets and t-shirt profits will benefit the Shelter for Help and Emergency in Charlottesville, which provides aid and resources to victims of domestic violence as well as operating extensive outreach and volunteer programs in the community.
Woolley reflected on the Day of Healing event and how it’s changed in recent years.
“We kind of wanted to switch up the structure so that more groups could talk about what self-care means to them because we wanted just a wide variety of perspectives and ideas about self-care,” Woolley said. “We also wanted it to be on the Lawn because it’s just a central location and we figured we could get more random attendees that way, and it worked”
Woolley also highlighted the importance of educating students about the resources they have and the different methods of self-care.
“We wanted to emphasize that obviously self-care is really important, but it goes beyond the typical ideas about self-care like yoga or drinking tea — we kind of wanted to show that self-care means something different to everyone and it can be through listening to music, writing poetry, just sitting on the Lawn for 10 minutes,” Woolley said. “We definitely wanted a variety of self-care practices to show people, and we wanted to show people that not every single type of self-care will work for everyone and not every situation will call for the same method of self-care.”
The Day of Healing marks the close of the University’s 2019 Take Back the Night.