A small but mighty congregation commanded the attention of the campus Wednesday with loud chants and neon signs as they marched across campus to Take Back the Night.
The international event has been fighting for equality and raising awareness of sexual harassment since 1976.
This year’s annual event was hosted by the Women’s and Gender Equity Center at Cal State Long Beach.
Around 50 participants visited tables and listened to speakers talk about their experience with inequality and sexual assault.
The center invited Cindy De La Cruz-Brown, alumna of Cal State Long Beach, to speak about why spreading awareness about sexual harassment is such an important issue. She is also a Community Organizer at the Long Beach chapter of Building Healthy Communities.
De La Cruz-Brown said when women come forward about being harassed or abused, the common response is to ask what was wearing when it happened.
“The fact that is even a response is problematic to me,” De La Cruz-Brown said. “I don’t co-sign on something like that. It validates the objectification of women but also affirms how a woman’s word is commonly devalued.”
The night started with information tabling on subjects such as Denim Day, the Peace Corps and a sign-making booth for participants. After introductions and speeches by De La Cruz-Brown, her colleagues joined students in a march from the Maxson Plaza next to Brotman Hall to the Anatol Center. Once reaching the center, participants watched a sexual harassment awareness interACT performance. InterACT is a social justice awareness group of performers from Cal State Long Beach who encourage audience participation in their reenactments of sexual assault scenarios.
The night concluded with a safe space, where sexual assault survivors and those personally affected spoke to audience members to share their stories.
Jorge Sandoval, psychology senior, was one of the only men to attend the march. He said he feels that this is not only a women’s issue.
“We have to stand in solidarity, and change the culture.” Sandoval said. “Just the simple act of walking alone at night can be so tasking on a woman. It’s important for guys to support so [women] can get their night back.”