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More than 250 people participate in Take Back the Night


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Published 2010-11-17T13:24:00Z”/>

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Tasha Clark

Candles lit up Chico State and downtown Tuesday night as students and community members silently marched to Take Back the Night.

“Tonight we stand up, we speak out – we take back the night,” keynote speaker Anastacia Snyder said.

Snyder spoke among a large group of people Tuesday night in Common Grounds for the event, Take Back the Night, where students and community members came together to recognize the issues of domestic violence and rape.

Snyder is executive director of Catalyst, a domestic violence program where she has been working for 14 years.

Violence against women exists in every country, Snyder said. As long as violence exists, the problem has not been solved.

If women are not safe inside or outside, then they have no safe place, she said. This is why campus resources are important for women – they provide justice and healing.

Change requires advocacy, Snyder said. Everyone has a role to play, and as a collective people cannot be dismissed.

Take Back the Night is a traditional event, said Jillian Ruddell, director of the Women’s Center. The center tries to keep it that way because it makes the event more impactful.

Every year, more students and community members participate, she said. This year, 250 to 260 people participated in the walk.

The issue of sexual assault and rape culture is still prevalent today in the community, she said. This event will always be necessary as long as the atrocities are still occurring.

Before the walk, the Women’s Center had the Jen O’Hare Scholarship presentation in Common Grounds, where senior Kerrie Lione was awarded $1,000. Lione was chosen after submitting an essay on how her self-exploration has changed living in Chico.

The center also hosted two workshops. In Bell Memorial Union 210, the Women’s Only Survivor Speak Out was at full capacity, and the stories that women shared were confidential. The Gender Neutral workshop was in BMU Room 304 presented by the Women’s Center interns.

The purpose of the workshop was to teach how to combat rape culture on campus and in society, said Lorraina Hernandez, an intern at the center.

The workshop talked about the misuse of the word “rape” and how the word is used out of context.

Misuse of the word rape perpetuates the word, which diminishes the harsh reality of it and is not OK, said David Hugens, an intern at the center.

The interns also addressed the topic, “why rape?” explaining why certain circumstances do not excuse rape, such as drinking at a party or walking home alone.

“Rape isn’t a small thing – it’s a life-altering event,” said intern Kathy Eytchison.

At the end of the workshop, the interns provided phone numbers of resources on and off campus, such as Safe Place, Catalyst, the University Police Department and Enloe Medical Center. These resources can help victims of rape and domestic violence.

Before the walk began, everyone stood at Trinity Commons and received a candle. They had the choice of walking with posters students created during the week Women’s Center was tabling for Take Back the Night.

Some posters stated, “My body is not his property, please stop to empower survivors of sexual assault” and “The night is my night.”

Senior Alena Johnson created her own poster that read, “Rape is for apes, have you evolved?”

This was Johnson’s first time participating in the walk, she said. She attended because the event can be really powerful and is for a good cause.

Junior Raj Bola and Butte College student Jeffrey McGarity were unaware of the event when they passed by the large group of people.

Bola and McGarity were told that the event was for a good cause, so they decided to join in, Bola said.

Once everyone’s candle was lit, they all stood in a circle for a moment of silence then walked through downtown in silence, disregarding the traffic lights.

This was women’s studies major Jessica Johnston’s third semester participating, she said.

The walk made Johnston feel empowered, she said. It’s a way to influence others – to make them stop and think.

Tasha Clark can be reached at [email protected]

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      More than 250 people participate in Take Back the Night