Take back the night

Take Back the NightOn Monday, Oct. 29 I had the good fortune to end up attending the annual Take Back the Night rally, hosted by Abby’s House, WOU CASA, Green Dot, and SPEAK.

I must admit, I went in expecting some spiel on the dangers of sexism and inequality, the likes of which can be found in an “extra special episode” of any modern TV show. I walked out simply moved by the experience.

Group of students walk, carrying signs and candles
Students begin the candlakeoccurrence is one of disdain and disbelief. People seem to perceive male victims as weak, or less of a “man” one admits to being on the receiving end of domestic violence—that is, if he or she believes that males can be victims at all.

“Fear,” said Thompson, when asked about why so many don’t report domestic violence. “Fear of many different things.”

A traditional part of Take Back the Night events, I came to learn, is a piece called Reflection. This is a time of personal meditation, while a gong is struck every nine seconds. This is to represent that in the US every nine seconds a person is the victim of domestic violence. Every nine seconds. To say the least, sitting in a circle of one’s peers, in silent reflection on the horror of sexual assault and domestic violence, while listening the rhythmic and hollow ringing of a gong is chilling.

Eventually, people began to speak. Most read from the anonymous past confessions regarding sexual assault of Western students. Some made confessions of their own.

After a quick presentation by the on campus Green Dot program, participants in this event concluded the evening with a candle-lit walk through campus. Aware and empowered, over twenty people, male and female alike, marched into the night, touring campus while carrying candles and signs, yelling out empowerment chants, unified in showing to the rest of campus that they would not stand for domestic violence and sexual assault. Cheesy though it was, I was inspired when I heard, “Hey mister, get off my sister!” shouted proudly into the darkness.

By Bonnie Wells

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