Thunder, lighting and rain did not prevent around 100 women from marching to Old Town as part of Take Back the Night on Thursday.
At 6 p.m., women gathered at the Sutherland Sculpture Garden on campus to share their experiences with sexual assault, read poetry, sing and hear the music of the duet, Mystic Vagina.
“It’s very important for women to have a space to come together and share their experiences and feel the power and beauty we all share,” said Megan Foster, a senior sociology major.
Take Back the Night rallies across the world each year since 1978 speak out against sexual violence.
When darkness falls in Fort Collins, the women march to Old Town.
Victoria Hamm, co-chair of Campus Women’s Alliance, said the march is important because it empowers women.
“There are so many women here who still have not told their stories,” Hamm said.
Around 20 rape survivors and their supporters spoke at the microphone, which was set up beneath a white tent. The youngest girl who spoke was 13 years old.
Wendy Cohen, whose daughter Lacy was abducted and murdered in Fort Collins in January, had a table set up at the gathering.
“Take Back the Night is good because it brings light to an issue that affects numerous women. Lacy was killed by a sexual predator,” Cohen said. “I am here to support (the victims’) healing. The one gift they do have is that they are alive and can heal.”
Cohen attended the event with petitions to support passing the “Lacy Law” which would outlaw possessing police paraphernalia for non-police citizens.
“It’s healing for me to be able to warn others; I don’t want to see one other sweet girl hurt again,” Cohen said.
When the sky grew dark around 8 p.m., the women prepared to march. Some grabbed signs reading, “Real Men Don’t Hit,” “Empower Women” and “Rape is Violence Not Sex.” Then every woman attending the female-only rally marched to Old Town.
“(The march is important) because we’re allowed to yell and be as loud as we want,” said Hannah Girtin, a member of CWA. “It’s just really empowering to be that loud.”
Sam Melton, another member of CSA, said the march helps women find strength in each other.
Men were also welcome to participate in the rally, but met at the Oval where they were separate from the women. Then they marched to Old Town around 7:30 so they could meet the women who arrived after dark.