CSUN will fight sexual violence by taking back the night
CSUN will join the global movement to “Take Back the Night,” a rally that publicly confronts the pressing issues of sexual violence against women, men, and children.
Shira Brown, director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center said the event will take place Thursday, Feb. 25, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event will start at the Plaza del Sol in the University Student Union and will end at the Women’s Research Center at 18356 Halsted St.
“‘Take Back the Night’ rally offers survivors of violence an opportunity to give voice to their experiences and publicly affirm their transition from victim to survivor,” Brown said.
Beginning at 6 p.m. attendees will hear poignant and inspiring stories from survivors and activists who are working to end this violence, Brown said.
“The purpose of the event is to have students come together to organize a rally at CSUN to protest the prevalence of sexual violence in our society,” Brown said.
“Take Back the Night” will begin with a welcome from Gender and Women Studies Department Chair, Dr. Sheena Malhotra and will continue with various organizations and community members including West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsay Horvath, CSUN professor Melanie Klein who will share her survivor story and Bamby Salcedo who will talk about transgender female experiences with violence, Brown said.
The event will also feature spoken word artist Yazmin Watkins, a VDAY Vagina Mologue performance, and a band by the name of “Prohibition Rose.”
The Clothesline Project, collection of bras, a candlelight vigil, an empowerment march and a survivor speak out will take place at the event as well, Brown said.
“At 7:30 p.m., we have the lighting of candles, a symbolic bringing in of the light to the deepest, unlit corners of our streets and our society, followed by a march across campus, reclaiming the streets and the night for women and for all of us,” Malhotra said.
“Of course the most moving part of the program is often the Speak Out at the end, which begins at 8 p.m.,” Malhotra said. “This is where survivors tell their stories, breaking the silence that often surrounds the violence they suffer.”
The Clothesline Project addresses the issue of violence against women. Women affected by violence express their emotions by decorating a shirt then gets hung on a clothesline to be viewed by others as a testimony to the problem of violence against women, Brown said.
“The Clothesline Project encourages survivors to air their dirty laundry,” Brown said. “The first step towards healing is acknowledging what is happening to you, calling it what it is, and deciding once and for all, the violence must stop.”
According to Brown, the over arching theme of the event has been to bring about change.
“The first ‘Take Back the Night’ event was staged in 1973 in Germany. Today, marches are held around the world the United States, Canada, Latin America, India and Europe,” Brown said.
Brown added that the goal is to change the mindset of those ashamed of their rape, those who blame the survivor, those that feel it’s not that common and those that don’t care.
“We are not at fault, and those that are, those batterers, those rapists, those murderers must be held responsible for their crimes against our mothers, our sisters, our friends and our lovers. They must be made to change,” Brown said.
The Women’s Research and Resource Center is sponsoring this event. Co-sponsors include Gender and Women’s Studies Student Association, Gender and Women’s Studies Department, the Center for Sex and Gender Research, VDAY, Gamma Rho Lambda, Project DATE, Queer Studies Student Association, MEChA, CAUSA, Lambda Theta Alpha, Zeta Beta Tau and LGBTA.
“We are so appreciative of their support,” Brown said.
“The Gender and Women’s Studies Department and the Queer Studies Program are co-sponsors of the event because we believe that (it) is crucial for us to speak out to end the violence against women and the LGBT community,” Malhotra said.
Adriana Campos, 23, liberal studies major, plans on attending the event for the first time.
“This event hits close to home because I know someone who has been abused,” Campos said. “It’s events like this that can really make a difference and change someone’s life for the better.”
Students who wish to speak out against violence perpetrated on them or people they love will be given the opportunity to participate and publicly confront the atrocities committed against women in our society, Brown said.
“All of us should be able to exist without fear of violence on the streets and in our homes,” Malhotra said. “Many of our students are key organizers and speakers at the event, which I believe only grows stronger every year.”