To the editor,
A week of events for Take Back the Night will begin this Monday, April 13. Since October, I and the other members of the Student Senate Women’s Affairs Commission been having open forums to discuss what the events should look like, and whether the march should be open to anyone who wants to march. One thing that surprised me, but definitely should not have, was how respectful these conversations were. Everyone, regardless of their perspective, came to the conversation with an open mind and a willingness to understand others’ points of view. During our meeting in February, someone brought up that discussions like these gave them an opportunity to express their experience, while excluding people who aren’t women from the march made them feel like those people’s pain was illegitimate. While I truly understand the desire for a women’s-only space, in most people’s eyes, Take Back the Night has become an event that is about empowering survivors of sexual violence. We know that people who aren’t women also suffer from sexual violence, and they deserve to have a place in the march.
My hope is that the events we have planned for this week will offer a space where alliances between survivors and their supporters can be forged, where we can listen to each other’s experiences and share our own. Take Back the Night is one of the most visible times during the year where people gather publically to stand against a world where sexual violence is common and normalized. It can be a place where we stand together despite our differences to work for a better world in which people of all identities can live safely.
Please join us for this week’s events, especially our march on Thursday, starting at 6:30 p.m. in Scripps Amphitheater. If you feel safe in the streets and want to show your support for survivors, please contact Chris Caldwell at [email protected] to get involved with sideline support.
Koenig is an English major, managing editor of Sphere Magazine and a commissioner for women’s affairs.