TAKE BACK THE NIGHT

A Sexual Assault Awareness month special event

By Elizabeth Campos Staff Writer

In lieu of Sexual Assault Awareness month, California State University Long Beach’s Women’s and Gender Equity Center is hosting events to shed light on the important issue. 

On April 20, Take Back the Night will be taking place starting at 6 p.m. in front of the Maxson Plaza and transitioning to the USU Beach Auditorium at 7 p.m.

The concept of the event is fighting rape culture in general, but with the idea of defying the stigma that walking alone at night has for people, especially women and gay individuals. 

“We’re going to fight rape culture here at CSULB by marching at night,” said Desire Campusano, graduate student assistant of the Women’s and Gender Equity Center.

The event will begin with a rally in which leaders from different organizations give speeches on sexual assault. Followed by this, a different person is introduced to lead the rally and the march through campus.

Posters and fliers with chants will be passed out participants so they can recite them while marching. 

Campusano’s particular favorite is “Claim our bodies, claim our right, take a stand, take back the night!”

The transition from the first stage of the event, “Take Back the Night,” to the second stage “Speak Out” is characterized by an open space in which victims are welcome to share their stories with the audience present. 

Prior to that, the campus’ InterACT performance troupe will participate in the event as well. 

InterACT is a social justice performance troupe characterized by its interaction with audience members. 

Recalling past events, Campusano says that InterACT will more likely “do a skit about an abusive relationship or friends acting as bystanders to see how it all unfolds.” The interactive part of this is that InterACT members will stop and ask people what they would do in the given problematic scenarios. 

The “Speak Out” is the most emotional part of Take Back the Night as many sexual assault survivors take the courage to share their experiences. This space, however, is not limited for survivors only, those who have been indirectly affected can speak out, too.

“The outcome of the evening is a sense of empowerment, and they also take back the power from ‘that’ night,” said Campusano, who has been present in several Take back the night events. 

The event is scheduled to end at 9:30 p.m., however, depending on the amount of people who share experiences during “Speak Out,” the event may go on regardless of time frame.

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