By Charlotte Rutigliano
Students, faculty and members of the community came out to the Kate Buchanan Room this past Friday to show their support for survivors of sexualized violence.
One student who came out to show support was graduate student Irene Vasquez.
“I think it’s wonderful that the university cares about the students and is spreading awareness like this,” Vasquez said.
The university has been the host of the take back the night events since the mid-1980’s. Take Back the Night was co-sponsored by the North Coast Rape Crisis team and the Women’s Resource Center.
Paula Arrowsmith-Jones, Community Outreach Coordinator for the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, said that these events have been going on since the 1970s but have been held on and off campus since the mid-1980s.
“Back in the 70s women were told not to go certain places at night without a male chaperone,” Arrowsmith-Jones said. “Because if something happened it fell on the women. These events were created to reclaim everyone’s right to go somewhere and not get hurt.”
According to Arrowsmith-Jones, it’s important for the university to hold events like this because there is so much shame, secrecy and denial that surrounds sexualized violence, it’s about raising awareness for those who don’t think it happens.
Take back the night student coordinator and graduate student Ariel Fishkin said we are living in a rape supported society, where individuals are taught that “rape culture” is okay and where victim blaming is too common.
“I have experience with sharing,” Fishkin said. “People don’t realize that it’s a systemic thing that’s why we have these events.”
Take Back the Night was part of a week long event to let survivors know that they are believed. The week long event took place during sexual assault awareness month.
“Sexual violence is so prevalent,” Arrowsmith-Jones said “we want to show people affected that they are supported, we have counselors at all the events to help.”
The university does have a lot of student activism with Check It, Peer Health Education, and the Women’s Resource Center. Fishkin hopes to continue to bring awareness to this issue as a campus to the community.
Sophomore zoology major Katie Marks said it is amazing that the university is doing this because she knows people who have experienced sexualized violence and she wants to be a part of the change for a world without violence.
“Hopefully this will inspire other universities and communities to change too,” Marks said.
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