Take back the night: A place for survivors to tell their story


Mikie Believes Take Back the Night brings in good support and awareness for those effected by sexual assault. Photo credit: Kelsi Sibert

Since the 1970s, Chico State’s Gender and Sexuality Equality Center, formerly known as the Women’s Center, has put on an event called “Take Back the Night.” Each year a different theme surrounding sexual violence awareness is chosen; this year’s theme is “reach out, speak out.”

GSEC Women’s Program Coordinator Mikaela “Mikie” Wiedman said the reason GSEC puts on this event is to, “raise awareness for sexual assault survivors and to stand in solidarity with the survivors.”

What was previously a week-long event is now a two-day event that will take place Thursday and Friday.

The first day will take place in the Bell Memorial Union where keynote speaker Kymberlea Dehoney will present poetry about her sexual assault experiences. Sexual violence survivors will also have the opportunity to “speak out” in a writing activity to share their thoughts and experiences on being a survivor. At the same time, Rape Crisis, a local sexual assault intervention and prevention center, will be holding a workshop to discuss self-care.

After the group activities, there will be a chance for survivors to either read slam poetry about their experiences or participate in a march later in the evening.

Those interested in the march will gather in the Student Service Center plaza at 9 p.m. and walk downtown.

“The march is to take back the night, to say that women are allowed to feel safe walking around in the streets. Usually people will come in almost no clothes,” Weidman said. “We march around a lot of the party houses downtown and by the bars to show that we should feel safe walking in these places and we should feel safe, as women, walking at night.”

Safe Place Administrator, Alix MacDonald, said that services will be provided at take back the night for anyone who may feel offended by the content.

“I’m going to be there during the speak-outs if anyone is triggered by anything or anyone needs to talk,” she said.

Alix MacDonald
Alix MacDonald is the administrator for Safe Place, an on campus, confidential violence prevention and intervention center. She will be tabling and helping to promote the Take Back the Night event Photo credit: Kelsi Sibert

MacDonald wanted to remind those attending, that these events are great, but it’s also important to know that there are always services available for anyone who may need them after an event like take back the night.

On Friday GSEC will host a debriefing lunch in the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center office, Meriam Library 172, for anyone who may want to talk about the topics and events that went on Thursday.

“We, as GSEC, really want to advocate for survivors and be there for them, so the reason we take place in (take back the night) is because we just want to be activists and advocates for all communities and all marginalized people,” Weidman said. “So for survivors who might feel lonely, we want to be there for them.”

Thursday, April 26:

  • 6 to 7 p.m. – Keynote in BMU Auditorium
  • 7 to 8 p.m. – 3 Survivor speak-outs: Women’s Only BMU 210, Women’s Only BMU 211, Gender Inclusive BMU 312
  • 7 to 8 p.m. – Workshop: Self-care by Rape Crisis in BMU 008
  • 8 to 9 p.m. – Take Back the Mic in BMU Auditorium
  • 9 p.m. – March in downtown Chico, starting in SSC plaza

Friday, April 27:

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Debriefing brunch facilitated by GSEC

Kelsi Sibert can be reached at [email protected] or @ksibertofficial on Twitter.