A band of activists took to campus to protest sexual assault, chanting and writing chalk messages in the quad to spread their message on Thursday, April 23, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Members of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance held the protest to join an international event called Take Back the Night, which is held in more than 30 countries.
“Take Back the Night is an event that FMLA holds every year, taking back the night because that is when most rapes happen, during nighttime,” said Jackeline Moreno, who is in charge of FMLA’s treasury and public relations.
The activists met in the MUC Plaza and wrote statistics about sexual assault in chalk on the ground such as, “From 1995-2010, 9 percent of rape and sexual assault victims were male,” and “93 percent of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.” The statistics came from the website of the anti-assault organization Rape Abuse and Incest National Network.
After writing these messages, the members of FMLA read them from a microphone so passersby could hear. A few stopped to listen to the message, and one person volunteered to write chalk statistics.
When the 30 statistics had been read, FMLA member Samantha Kolyer read “My Short Skirt” from “Vagina Monologues,” a play that tells women’s stories in a blunt, unapologetic fashion.
Finally, the activists took up their signs, adorned with messages like “No one deserves to be violated” and “Give back my innocence.” They made a circuit of campus, going to the intersection of University Avenue and College Street while chanting phrases like, “Two, four, six, eight, no more violence, no more hate,” and “Women unite; take back the night.”
Horns honked as the group walked along College Street, and some bystanders joined the crew.
One curious six-year-old convinced her mother to join them at least for a little bit. When asked why she wanted to join, the girl said, “’Cause it sounds fun.”
The group passed the dorms, where students peered through the windows to watch, and paused again before the Foy Fitness Center. The general reaction from outsiders was curiosity.
Many asked questions, wondering what the group was protesting, and some gave thumbs up.
The protestors finished their circuit around 9 p.m. and ended up back at the MUC. They parted ways with a promise to take the night back again next year.