Feet will march and voices will be heard Wednesday night as Cal State Long Beach students, faculty and staff march across campus to advocate for an end to sexual assault and other forms of relationship violence. The Take Back the Night event will also feature speakers, discussions and cultural expression related to sexual and domestic violence.
Take Back the Night is a charitable, non-profit foundation that has been hosting events targeting sexual violence since the late ‘60s. Since then, according to its website, more than 600 campuses and communities have held thousands of events across the country.
Pay Rayburn, Coordinator for the CSULB Women’s and Gender Equity Center, believes that relationship violence is still an issue that needs to be addressed today.
“In this day and age, there are new forms of potential relationship violence that should be explored, such as online dating,” she said.
WGEC, sometimes partnered with other student groups on campus, provides workshops and events focused on improving intimate relationships and spreading awareness of the red flags of partner violence. Take Back the Night is an annual march that has been organized for the past several years.
Beginning at 5 p.m. by Brotman Hall, students can enjoy performances, art, slam poetry and speakers. CSULB Detective Christopher Brown and John Higgins, assistant director of Multicultural Affairs, are only two of the confirmed speakers for the evening.
“We’ve done different things [in the past] considering the [current prevailing] atmosphere,” said Rayburn. “I think in this current administration a lot of students are not feeling safe, especially undocumented [individuals]…so maybe that’s what the speakers will be talking about.”
Social justice performance troupe InterACT will demonstrate effective communication through a series of interactive skits at 7 p.m. Wrapping up the night is the Speak Out open-mic segment, from 8 p.m. to around 9:30 p.m., in which students are invited to share their personal experiences with sexual violence. Counselors will be available for anyone who feels triggered by the content. Rayburn says Speak Out is typically the most “moving” portion of the night.
“We know sexual assault is not just about sex; it’s about power and control,” Rayburn said. “Because of the current administration] a lot of people are feeling they don’t have that support or don’t feel safe. [Take Back the Night] is about making the night safe again and standing up to all sorts of gender violence. It’s taken on more of a meaning now.”