The Women’s Resource Center hosted Eastern Michigan University’s second annual Take Back the Night march on Tuesday in the Student Center Ballroom. The march was held as part of the WRC’s Consent Week.
Take Back the Night is a global movement with the goal to raise awareness and speak out against sexual assault. Representatives from SafeHouse and LaCasa were in attendance to show their support.
The event started with a powerful speech from the student who ran the event, Jessica Dailey, a junior majoring in women and gender studies and literature.
Jessica’s speech ended with a powerful statement on why the participants had joined together to speak out, “until we can exist as women without fear of harassment, being assaulted, being raped on our own campus. The place that is supposed to be our home. Until that day, we do not have equal education. We are still treated as second class citizens. Not anymore. It ends here, with us. We will be heard, we will be seen.”
Jessica’s speech was followed by a march through campus with students holding signs that had different messages such as “My clothes are not my consent.” Some women even chose to make their own sign to show why they were taking back the night. The group of students marching yelled chants throughout campus and received much support from faculty and students on campus.
Chants that were repeated by the marchers included, “Women united will never be defeated,” and “Whatever I wear, wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no.”
Each of the participants had their own reasons for why they chose to take back the night.
“Women shouldn’t be afraid to walk by themselves at night,” said sophomore environmental science major Megan Robeson. “They shouldn’t have to fear everyday human actions because they could be attacked at any moment.”
Once the group returned to the ballroom, the room turned into a safe place for survivors of sexual assault to confidentially share their experiences and receive help.
The Survivor Speak-Out is the second event the Women’s Resource Center has sponsored this semester. Spaces like this provide an outlet for not only survivors but for all of those that have known someone who has experienced sexual assault.
“Tonight is a night I have looked forward to for a while,” said Angie McDonald, a junior English major. “I went for the first time last year and felt more empowered than I thought possible, this year I brought my friends and was ready to feel that empowerment again.”
The marchers could be heard all around campus.
“There is nothing more freeing than yelling your convictions for people to hear, I hope people listened,” Melissa Jones, a sophomore business and finance major, said.
Students raved about the success following the event, talking about what needs to change at EMU, some saying that this event made them want to be more active at bringing a change.
Consent Week will end Thursday with a discussion on How To Have Good (Consensual) Sex from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room G03 of Halle Library.