Tonight, women and men will march separately, but will do it for a single cause.
Continuing to raise awareness after a weeklong series of events, Campus Feminist Alliance (CFA) will host its 15th annual Take Back The Night rally.
“The purpose of Take Back The Night is to raise awareness about violence against women, specifically domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Chris Linder, director of the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies.
The night begins with two separate Speak Outs, to preface the marches to Old Town Square. The Women Identified Speak Out takes place in the Lory Student Center Sculpture Garden at 6 p.m., while the Men Identified Speak Out will take place at the fountain located between the Engineering and Glover buildings, also at 6 p.m.
“The Women Identified Speak Out focuses on a safe environment,” said Emily Hornback, a senior anthropology and Spanish major as well as senior member of the CFA.
Hornback said the Women Identified Speak Out will feature an open microphone for people to share their feelings about sexual assault. Anyone can share feelings or stories, but the focus is more on survivors.
“The Men’s Speak Out has each man introduce himself and explain why they’re there,” said Eric Parthum, a 2004 art major graduate and graphic designer for CFA. “Ryan Barone from the Men’s Project will help facilitate a discussion on issues surrounding sexual assault and prevention.”
The reason for the separate Speak Outs is to create a safe space for people to share their thoughts and feelings. Hornback said she eventually wants to get the Speak Outs integrated, but said she thinks that will occur in a time when society is more comfortable with openly discussing sexual assault.
Since the Speak Outs are separate, the titles of Women Identified as well as Men Identified are labeled as such to be inclusive of those in the transgender community.
Following the Speak Outs, the groups will take different routes in a march to Old Town Square.
“People come back for the march, because it’s a powerful healing experience,” Hornback said. “We march to take back something that was taken from you: your security.”
The two groups will meet around 9 p.m. in Old Town Square for a joint rally with a performance by local award-winning slam poet Andrea Gibson. The night continues at the Bean Cycle, 144 S. College Ave.
Take Back The Night started in the 1970s as part of the women’s liberation movement and is based on the idea of being unafraid to walk at night, whether you are male or female. The event is gender-inclusive, showing sexual assault is not a one-gender issue.
“Our society and culture think that men are not vulnerable. They make it next to impossible to talk about sexual assault,” Parthum said. “This is a men’s issue just as much as women’s. Sexual assault is seen as a women’s issue, even though men are typically committing the crime.”
Natasha Grunden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus Feminist Alliance Web site: www.lamar.colostate.edu/~campfem/index.html