Student groups march against sexual, street harassment in annual Take Back the Night

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Take Back the Night

Jodi Abazoski and Jodi Abazoski

Roars of “take back the night” could be heard throughout Bowling Green Thursday night as FORCE hosted a march starting on campus, going down to Court Street, Main Street and ending back at discussion rooms in Hannah Hall.

Prior to the march, there was a rally in the Union for the annual Take Back the Night rally and march against street harassment and violence.

“We’ve expanded Take Back the Night. It’s still about sexual assault and violence, but it’s also about street harassment and especially how street harassment impacts other communities as well. We want to connect that and how [street harassment] impacts people of color and queer and trans communities,” said Alexandra Lahey, president of the Feminist Organization Raising Consciousness and Empowerment [FORCE]. “Oppression is different for all of us, but I believe we can all unite together and sort of build power to change our community.”

There was a strong feeling of community during the event. Representatives from various groups like the Office of Women and Gender Studies and the Latino Student Union came together to support the march.

The main point was giving people from all minority groups a voice against violence.

“I think we all know that marginalized communities experience violence in a much higher rate than the general public,“ Lahey said.

Performances came from students like Katie Franklin and Lana Adams. They signed to a song by Dar Williams called “When I Was a Boy.” There were two musicians that performed as well.

Lahey said that music is a good way to come together in an event like this.

Greg Gantt of the Black Student Union spoke about Trayvon Martin. He said events like Take Back the Night are important because they allow students to address the things they need to do to make change.

“No issue is greater than another, we’re all here fighting for rights,” he said.

For some students, Take Back the Night was their first opportunity to get involved with FORCE.

“This is my first time with FORCE, one of my suite mates is very actively involved [with FORCE] and she encouraged me to come,” said freshman Hannah Scheppler. “I’ve been very interested in feminism. I’ve maybe had some experiences with street harassment, but I’m very passionate about the victims in general.”

Other students returned to this year’s event because of its new message of including more communities.

“One of the special things about Take Back the Night this year is that it’s also focusing on street harassment of LGBT people as well as people of color,” said sophomore Edward Vaughn.

During the actual march, people came together with signs reading “enough is enough” and “consent is sexy.”

Lahey transitioned from the rally to the march with one lasting sentiment: “If you’re ever experiencing violence, please do not be afraid to ask for help.”