Apr 222009

Tonight survivors of sexual assault and abuse as well as their allies will take to the streets and march through Fort Collins in a symbolic display of “taking back the night.”/

The Campus Feminist Alliance will be hosting the 18th annual “Take Back the Night” march and speak-out./ This event is an internationally recognized occurrence that aims to raise awareness and advocates for an end to sexual violence.

“This event is empowerment in a single word. It’s empowerment. It’s allowing those that had experiences to finally talk about it and to finally voice it often for the first time,” said Lara Adamson, junior human development and family studies major and president of Campus Feminist Alliance.

Anyone is allowed to participate in Take Back the Night, which includes a speak-out by allies and former survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse, a mile-long march to Old Town and a rally where this year three poet-activists, Alex Bartz, Jennifer Pacheco and Isis, will do a poetry reading.

“I think it’s important to get the know out there about sexual assault and abuse, because I think a lot of times we think it’s a thing in the past and it isn’t,” said Stephanie Johnson, a senior women studies and international studies major and member of Campus Feminist Alliance.

“(Sexual violence is) a thing going on, and we need to be aware of the fact that it is going on to secure ourselves and be allies to other people.”

Statistics show that sexual violence is not as uncommon as some may think, with one in four college women falling victim to rape.

“(In) the streets and atmosphere you really can’t go out as a woman without at least in some way or another risking your safety,” Johnson said./”Take Back the Night is owning your night again.”

During the march, allies and survivors unite to show that sexual violence needs to be stopped. It focuses on uniting the survivors of sexual assault with allies and loved ones who support their decision to speak out.

“The march is the point you can get frustrated and yell and march with your friends and loved ones that have been assaulted,” said Sarah Cooper, treasurer for the Campus Feminist Alliance.

“It’s a really visible way to show your community that you are not okay with that kind of behavior.”

The speak-out is a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to share their experiences with other survivors, friends and allies.

Adamson said the event is a way to empower the survivors to share their stories and realize that they are not alone.

“Take Back the Night is important because sexual violence is a taboo issue that, especially survivors, are not allowed to talk about it. And when they do talk about it, it gets more taboo./ Forcing people to listen to things that make them feel uncomfortable is really important,” Adamson said.

“If people just come and be a part of the whole event, they are showing that they don’t condone violence and that they won’t take part in that themselves,” Copper said.

“Take Back the Night” will be hosted tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. All people who are interested should meet in the Sculpture Garden to the west of the Lory Student Center.

Staff writer Justyna Tomtas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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