Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Hunter Parsons, Staff Writer
“So many people look at the statistic of one-in-four and assume that they won’t be that one. I never thought I would be either. But I am.” Stories like these were shared during Monday night’s “Take Back the Night” rally against sexual assault. Roughly one hundred students gathered on the lower quad to listen to eight powerful women recount their experiences with sexual abuse, assault, and rape.
“Women are silenced by fear and tonight we break that silence,” a representative of P.O.W.E.R. stated during the event. “We are taught to fear the dark because of the people who lurk in it.” Although many different stories were revealed to the student body, one theme remained consistent: the rape culture needs to change.
“I wasn’t drunk when it happened,” explained one student. “I wasn’t wearing skimpy clothes, and I wasn’t asking for it.” Many other students concluded that there are strong assumptions made about rape and sexual assault victims stating that they are to blame for being abused, and P.O.W.E.R. was quick to prove them false.
“I never thought I would be the girl who stays quiet, but now I know that girl could be anybody.” Each woman who took to the stage to share her story inspired many others to speak up and talk about experiences of their own. While M.A.P.S. sponsored an event for men to discuss other issues like “redefining the meaning of being a man”, the women took off down Academy Street and marched to Bronson Park chanting empowering phrases and carrying a banner.
Once at Bronson Park, an estimated fifty powerful women passed candles around in a circle and bravely shared their own stories. Some opened up to their peers for the first time, while others provided immense support.
At the end of the event, after each candle was dedicated to a certain individual and blown out, one student stepped forward with a crucial message: “This event has broken the silence on some levels. It was incredibly powerful to both witness and take part in. But more needs to be done. From everyone: students and the administration alike need to bring the issue of sexual violence into the open and propel this spark into something more.”