To empower survivors of rape and sexual assault, the Student Safety and Wellness Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government Executive Branch hosted a Take Back the Night march on Wednesday evening. Around 20 students marched across campus and Franklin Street to bring awareness to the sexual violence against women, men and non-binary individuals by men.
This march, which began in the 1970s, came on the historic Denim Day, remembering the 1998 Italian Supreme Court ruling that a woman was not raped because she wore tight jeans.
“These acts of sexual violence are disproportionately committed by our male acquaintances in places that are far too familiar to us,” senior and march organizer Sammie Espada said in her speech. “We are here today to stand in solidarity with one another and show that we will not stand for it anymore. We will not stand for the street harassment or having to constantly plan our lives around staying safe, for the victim blaming, for the inability to really trust male acquaintances, friends and partners and for the lack of action against for what is a public health epidemic affecting over half of the U.S. population at unacceptable rates. We are done.”
Espada said one in four college women experience some form of sexual violence by men before they graduate, and this issue’s prevalence brought many of students to the march.
“I think it's really important that we talk about these issues and also that we can find solutions and make survivors comfortable sharing their stories, just making it an environment that is more aware,” sophomore Emma Caponigro said.