Sunday, April 20, 2008

Old, young, black, white! All survivors take back the night!  

Every year, my college participates in Take Back the Night, a huge event to protest violence against women. It is completely student-organized, and it consists of bands/artists/poets performing, fun activities like tie-dying, lots of food, and tables set up to hand out things like pamphlets on sexual violence and information about safe sex. Raffles are also done, and donations are accepted. This year, all proceeds went to a local battered women's shelter. It's a great event, and yesterday was Take Back the Night 2008.

I took pictures so I could post them in here, just to show you all how awesome it was. First, we spent several hours enjoying the music and activities in the lovely sunshine. One of my favorite activities was a crash course in self-defense. Here's me kneeing a potential rapist square in the crotch:

And my girlfriend doing the same:

Heh. It was pretty badass. After all the festivities were over and done with, we did the annual march around campus, and eventually through town. We chanted the entire way, which got extremely exhausting. A few of the chants were: "Sexist! Rapist! Anti-gay! You can't take our night away!" "2, 4, 6, 8! Stop the violence, stop the hate!" "Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, and no means no!"

Here's a short video that I took, in which we're marching down Main Street and chanting, "Out of the bars and into the streets! We won't be raped, we won't be beat!"

We marched to the court house, where we stood outside and listened to a speech about the numerous police officers and judges that are supposed to protect us, but instead fail to take rape and sexual assualt seriously. The best part of this was the fact that our march had police escorts, so there were cops standing right there, being forced to listen to what we had to say.

I managed to capture a little bit of the speech in a video:

After the march, we had a speak-out, in which everyone sat in a circle and shared experiences and feelings they had regarding sexual violence. It was really powerful. If any of you attend a college that doesn't participate in Take Back the Night, I highly recommend you get some people together and organize it for next Spring. It's a great experience.

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