Students and the community came together to bring light to the issue of rape culture and violence against women at the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center’s annual Take Back the Night Week.
“It’s about taking back our voice,” said GSEC Women’s Program Coordinator Rachel Biccum.
Ninety-one percent of rape and sexual assault victims are female with 9 percent being men according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
GSEC’s annual Take Back the Night main event took place April 27. Take Back the Night Week was put on to show support and reclaim the voices of sexual assault survivors on campus and in the community.
This event’s focus was to empower and acknowledge survivors of sexual assault and give the right to everyone’s security.
“March, learn, act for awareness, solidarity, prevention and resilience” was this year’s theme.
Take Back the Night also provided an opportunity for students and community members to involve themselves by protesting against it.
Members of the community and students stood in solidarity with survivors to show their support.
Keynote speaker, poet and activist Ekere Tallie began the event with a speech before opening the floor to questions.
Tallie engaged the audience by reciting her poems, reading national statistics, speaking up about the injustices of sexual assault and gave tips on how to move forward.
One in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.
Take Back the Night’s mission is to end all forms of sexual assault and to create safe communities and relationships. Victims admit to knowing the person who sexually assaulted them 8 out of 10 times.
“Let me, and let us learn to speak up,” Tallie said.
There were 15 reported rapes on campus between 2013 and 2015 and three reports of domestic violence on campus between 2014 and 2015, according to the 2016 CSU Chico Annual Security Report.
Rape is the most under-reported crime nationwide. Sixty-three percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. More than 90 percent of victims of sexual assault on college campuses do not report the assault.
During Take Back the Night, survivors were able to reclaim their voices and right to safety and security at all times in the community through the silent candlelit march.
“Consent is not the absence of no. It’s the presence of yes,” Tallie said.
Victoria Rohrer can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.