Take Back the Night

Apr 212005
Authors: By Erin Tracy

A group of women and children holding signs and banners took back the night with a march through the CSU campus, Laurel Street and College Avenue, finishing with a speech by transgender activist, Leslie Feinberg Thursday night.

"We have the power/we have the right/the streets are ours/take back the night," "2-4-6-8 no more date rape" and "hey hey/ ho ho/ rape and violence have got to go" were some of the phrases chanted as police cars led the demonstration to the Plaza at Old Town.

"I am doing this because I was sexually abused when I was a child and I want people to know that it isn't a right thing to do, to sexually violate or cause any woman of any age (harm)," said Madeline Bryan, a freshman human development and family studies major, during the march.

More than 150 people participated in the march to Old Town.

Before the march there were two separate speak out sessions about sexual abuse – one for women and one for men – reporters were asked not to report on the events.

Fort Collins resident Mia Towbin participated in the march and brought her 10- and 7-year-old girls with her.

"I think it is really important for women to come together and feel they are safe and to have a night were they can feel safe outside," Towbin said. "(I brought them here) so they get that message while they are young."

As cars passed, many drivers honked horns and waved at the passing demonstration.

One of the marshals of the march, Kathy Plate, an anthropology and women's studies graduate student, said she thought the demonstration might have had a big impact on the community.

"A lot of people don't necessarily know about it, so it brings a lot of awareness," Plate said. "It also brings a lot of healing for people who haven't been able to do this before."

Keynote speaker of the night and transgender activist Leslie Feinberg said the march's movement from the sidewalks to the streets was like past women's liberation and protest movements.

"I think the response we are getting from people in cars of all sexes including many people that appear to be male is recognition of the militancy of taking the streets with this demand," Feinberg said.

The march ended at Old Town Square where Feinberg spoke about being a survivor of sexual gender violence and the importance of uniting to overcome fear.

"This widespread violence driven by bigotry is a social problem that requires large scale collective solutions," Feinberg said.

Feinberg overcame obstacles to attend the event Thursday night because of the CSU administration.

"They tried to compel me, a survivor of violence, to agree contractually that I was legally and financially responsible for any injuries or damages to anyone at this event," Feinberg said. "They said I had to have $1,000,000 of liability insurance and then they said they would waive that liability insurance if I told them in advance what I was going to speak about and if I offered a list of other campuses where I had spoken."

Feinberg said no to waiving the liability or paying the insurance and thus, Feinberg claims, CSU would not pay for the honorarium and plane ticket to Colorado.

Feinberg finished the speech by encouraging the crowd to unite.

"Sisters, brothers and other siblings in struggle together we do not have to live in fear together we can take back the night and take back the day," Feinberg said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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