Students gather to Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night is a decades-old tradition to protest the spectrum of sexual harassment, and University students continue to carry it out.

Saturday night, Feminist Organization Raising Consciousness and Empowerment and several students gathered to march against sexual violence.

“(Take Back the Night) is an event to end sexual abuse and sexual harassment. It is important to focus on female-bodied people, but also people of color and queer people who may be harassed,” said Ezra Williams, the president of FORCE.

There were tables from several student and community organizations, like Queer Trans Student Union, It’s On Us, the Vagina Monologues and the Cocoon. Black Student Union was invited, but they did not attend as a group.

These organizations gave short speeches on what they do.

Michele Hoeskema, community education and outreach specialist from the Cocoon, pushed for the need of a possible sexual violence prevention center. There has been discussion about whether this center would be a physical or “virtual” space, though she and many students feel it needs to be physical.

Faith Hufford, leader of the It’s On Us student group, is looking for more membership and was excited people are getting out to combat sexual assault.

The AcousChicks, an all-women a cappella group on campus, performed. There was also a monologue, “My Short Skirt,” preformed by Elle Fullenkamp, director of the Vagina Monologues.

Around ten people marched around Bowling Green, with signs saying things like: “I will not be next,” “Cats against catcalling” and “Shatter the silence.”

“We are advocating for people who experienced sexual harassment. We want to break down the stigma. We aren’t hiding, but screaming in their faces,” said Caty Dorfmeyer, vice president of FORCE.

The group walked through downtown chanting as they passed students, community members and bars.

The chants included phrases like “shatter the silence” to spread their message.

The group garnered many looks from passers-by. A few groups of girls walking downtown cheered the protesters on and joined the chanting while they passed.

There were also people who reacted negatively. One woman in a bar shouted “Shut up” several times while the protesters passed.

Another man on the street approached and asked “Did something happen?” which was typical for other groups of people who asked what was behind the chanting.

The group finished back up at the Union and gathered around for a post-protest discussion.

Kyla Ahlfeld, human development and family studies freshman, “We’re making sexual assault not invisible, since it can be an invisible problem. Take Back the Night is an annual event, and FORCE is always looking for more membership.”