Keene State College students rallied together to spread awareness of sexual assault on women.
On Thursday Oct. 27, students, faculty and staff gathered in the Lantern Room of the Student Center for an event titled Take Back the Night. The premise of the event is- to spread awareness of sexual assault and to take back those spaces around Keene that have been known for these instances.
“Take Back the Night is a branch of violence prevention,” said KSC Senior Sophia Olsen. “It’s taking back those places and spaces that are given horrible connotations because of people who took advantage of the darkness.”
Take Back the Night is not a relatively new event to campus.
“It feels new because the last few years we had nothing done,” said Women’s and gender studies professor Patricia Pedroza Gonzalez. “I’m so glad we wanted to do it this year.”
The event began in the Lantern Room where an event introduction and slam poetry kicked things off. After the poetry students, faculty and staff gathered to march through those non-safe spaces around Keene, taking it back as their own.
“You need to think like 20 to 25 years ago where it wasn’t well-seen for women to be seen alone outside at night, specifically in bars,” said Pedroza Gonzalez. “The reason why I say to look back 25 years ago [is] because I believe the violence in the street now involves everyone. Now everybody can be assaulted. Now everybody can be shot.”
Olsen said they aren’t dismissing the fact that men do get sexually assaulted, “but women get attacked more.”
According to Olsen, who is also part of Mentors in Violence Prevention, one in four women on college campuses will be sexually assaulted, and by the age of 18, that ratio is one in six.
“90 percent of perpetrators are male,” said Olsen. “That’s not saying that 90 percent of males are perpetrators. Violence prevention is not just a women’s issue, it’s an everyone issue.”
One student, wishing to remain unnamed, said that this event meant a lot to them, but they were not happy with the turnout.
“I don’t think the message got across. I wish that more males showed up to take part. I was sexually assaulted off-campus, and I believe there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of what they are doing”
“Take back the night is still hitting that specific connotation that women should not be afraid to go out at night,” said Pedroza Gonzalez. “And to not think that it was my fault to be assaulted, it was not my fault to be raped.”
Pedroza Gonzalez mentioned a few tactics for students to keep themselves safe at night, some include to walk with a friend and to not take drinks from anyone you don’t know.
“I hope students are helping each other,” said Pedroza Gonzalez. “Taking care for each other and staying together, all that is still helping.”
Justin Mahan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org