Despite the wind and pouring rain, survivors and allies in the Fort Collins community gathered to speak out against sexual assault in an effort to â€œTake Back the Nightâ€ Thursday evening.
For many it was their first experience at Take Back the Night, sponsored by Campus Feminist Alliance, but it was the 20th year the national event has taken place at CSU.
The evening began with survivors sharing their own experiences with sexual assault. Later, Denver storyteller Gloria Garcia Diaz shared in Old Town Square and was followed by slam poet Brenden Bords.
The evening was wrapped up by a discussion with writer and reproductive justice activist Miriam Perez.
Senior English major Lexy Hall, also the President of the Campus Feminist Alliance, said the nightâ€™s intent was to provide a safe place for survivors and those affected by sexual assault and violence.
â€œItâ€™s (Take Back the Night) to reclaim all the times of day and night to be safer for all people regardless of their gender, race or any other identity,â€ Hall said.Â
While the event was community-inclusive, a safe and trustworthy environment was ensured to any survivor needing to be heard and supported.Many survivors spoke out about their past experiences with assault and urged others to speak up and use their voices for themselves to instigate a change.Â
According to Hall, the earliest documented event of Take Back the Night occurred in Philadelphia in 1975.Â The event is typically held at CSU in April in accordance with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.Â
After the survivors shared their stories, all survivors and allies marched from the Lory Student Center to Old Town Square as they displayed signs and joined in chants such as:
â€œClaim our bodies, claim our rights, take a stand, take back the night,â€ and â€œwhatever we wear wherever we go, yes means yes, and no means no.â€
The united group, exceeding 50 people, passed by the dormitories, and was led by police into the streets of Old Town Fort Collins, spreading their message and adding individuals to the march as they passed by.
Junior Human Development and Family Studies major Katie McCue said she was proud to be an ally.
â€œI felt like it was something I needed to support. … People donâ€™t realize how serious it is.Â It was so empowering, and I think more people need to be aware of the seriousness of what these survivors experience,â€ McCue said.
One of the many purposes of the event was to provide a resource for anyone who needs to be heard and to assure individuals that they are not alone, according to organizers.
â€œIt is a community event because sexual assault and violence affects everybody, and only together can we garner attention and discourse to the problem and hope to end it,â€ Hall said.
Staff writer Brittany Lancaster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of the march
- First documented event in Philadelphia, 1975
- 20th year at CSU