The night is for protesting.
This was demonstrated by the group of 20 or so men and women who marched across the campus Wednesday evening for the yearly “Take Back the Night” event.
“Claim our bodies, claim our rights; take a stand, take back the night,” protestors chanted while holding multi-colored signs, painted with messages about sexual harassment.
Posters included messages that read: “Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted,” and “Silence does not mean yes.”
With every loud chant the group of students seemed to radiate confidence and passion for their cause. They later convened in the University Student Union Alamitos Bay room for more activities and talks.
“We just want to show that we’re here to support students that really need it,” said fourth year child development major and first time attendee Anna Eyfer.
“Take Back the Night” is a student protest that focuses on violence against women such as sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence. School groups such as the Women’s Gender and Equity Center, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Not Alone at the Beach and Associated Students Inc. helped bring the event to life this year.
Marching as well as rallying afterwards is a tradition of “Take Back the Night” events on many college campuses. Clarissa Hernandez, a student and the leader of the march, said that she wanted express the message of reclaiming power as a woman.
“As a woman it’s normal to feel powerless, especially at night,” she said.
The goal of the event was to bring to light the fear that women experience during the night time. The protestors and organizations involved stressed the importance of women being able to feel comfortable while walking at night.
Protestor Alejandra Gonzalez said she grew up in a conservative Hispanic household where she was taught that if she went out at night she was going to get raped, and it would be her fault.
“I should not be blamed for the body I have or the crimes committed against me,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said she owed it to her friends and possible survivors on campus to use her voice to inspire people to take action and create a safe space at Long Beach State.
According to Eyfer, conversation about sexual assault and domestic violence are so important especially with parties and fraternity life. She said that talking about these issues gives people a chance to face their challenges and have the strength to overcome them.
“I would hate for one night to make someone a victim,” she said.
Rachel is a third year journalism major working currently as the Arts and Life Editor for the Daily 49er. She’s studied at Fresno City College and at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo where she used to be Editor-in-chief at the Cuestonian Student Newspaper. Her goal is to become a local crime reporter and to tell the stories of her community.
In her, very limited, spare time she likes to spend time with her cat Beans and go to Disneyland.