Students march to ‘Take Back the Night’

Students gathered to raise awareness and support those who have experienced sexual assault

Survivors+of+sexual+assault+and+domestic+violence+and+their+supporters+march+past+Bryan+Hall%2C+chanting+%22Silence+is+NOT+Consent%22+during+the+%22Take+Back+the+Night%22+march+on+Thursday+evening.

JORDAN MAXWELL | The Daily Evergreen

Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and their supporters march past Bryan Hall, chanting “Silence is NOT Consent” during the “Take Back the Night” march on Thursday evening.

BAILEY CAMPBELL, Evergreen reporter

Dozens marched the pathways of WSU to honor and acknowledge those who have experienced sexual harassment and assault during the Take Back the Night event Thursday evening.

Students gathered to speak and listen to emotional personal stories, and to offer support.

“Those who have experienced this can have their voices heard. They can know that they’re not alone,” said Whitney Nelson, president of the Black Women’s Caucus.

Those participating in the march shouted chants such as, “Silence is not consent,” and “Claim our bodies, claim our rights, take a stance, take back the night.”

Nelson said that just because people may not see sexual harassment and assaults occur, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

“It’s a hush thing to talk about,” Nelson said.

Jackson Ferderer, president of Men for Social Change, encouraged men to call out other men when harassment occurs on any scale.

“The elephant in the room is that men do this,” he said. “This is their problem, they need to fix it.”

Stephan Geraud, a WSU student in the crowd, said there is evidence to show that women face sexual harassment and assault on a widespread scale. He said the problem cannot be overcome at a grassroots levels.

“It’s irrefutable at this point,” Geraud said. “This issue needs to be institutionalized.”

Kiki Ortega, a member of MSC, said this march and the “Me Too” social media movement shine a light on what is usually a sensitive situation.

“The fact that it’s taboo to talk about is ridiculous,” she said.

Annika Krol, another member of MSC, said Men for Social Change educates men about hypermasculinity and their roles in social issues.

“Men need social groups to help them help women,” Krol said.

Several performers took the stage during the open mic segment of the event. One mentioned that there are options for those who feel the need to talk about anything.

“You are glorious,” she said, “and more outstanding than you could ever imagine.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that “claim our bodies, claim our rights,” was a chant at the march, not “blame our bodies, blame our rights.”