As I’ve said before, sexual assault is an issue that is very important today. I’ve already talked about the stigma that surrounds it and presented the facts in a previous blog post. However, after publishing that post, I decided that I wanted to be more proactive about bringing light to the issue. That’s when I started planning Take Back the Night.
Take Back the Night is a rally against domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment and any other intrusion that would make women feel uncomfortable walking alone at night. The idea is that survivors and supporters of the cause are taking the night back to show that we should not have to be afraid.
Brevard NOW, a local women’s organization, was hosting a Take Back the Night event that was focused on domestic violence. I decided to merge the event I was planning through my Rotaract Club with Brevard NOW, and the event took off. Rotaract set up a table in the middle of the event with a huge banner of fabric and massive amounts of paint. The fabric was a “These Hands Don’t Hurt” wall, and we would paint everyone’s hands in different colors and have them press them to the wall to show that they don’t abuse or harm. Everyone, from little kids to senior citizens to friends of mine and strangers to all, came and painted their hands; in the end, the entire three-yard banner was covered in layers and layers of handprints.
Brevard NOW’s event ended with a candlelit vigil. After this, it was Rotaract’s time to take over. I lead a group of 30+ people on a candlelit rally across campus. We were even joined by community activists and security!
Each of us carried a sign on our walk – some of them even glowed in the dark! We were an incredible sight as we trekked all across campus and through the Jungle. I was at the lead of the pack, and I looked back every few minutes at everyone’s smiling faces, each of them lit by flickering candlelight.
The event was a huge success, and the overwhelming support from my peers was incredible. As we continued our walk, more and more people joined. Even people that we met on the sidelines took candles and lit them from our flames. I was so happy to see the turnout, as well as how excited everyone was. The morale was great – despite the hot wax from the candles – and the walk turned out beautifully. For a big event that I put a lot of work into, it turned out great. The lost sleep was worth it – and so was the blue paint that stayed in my hair for two days. At the end of the day, I did my part to do some good, and my friends and classmates supported me for it. And that, my readers, is an amazing feeling.