Students and faculty march against sexual violence at annual "Take Back the Night" event
More than 20 students and faculty members marched on Saturday in Central Michigan University’s “Take Back the Night” event, organized by Students Advocating Gender Equality.
Taking inspiration from the event that has gained worldwide notoriety, marchers aimed to challenge the environment that makes women feel unsafe on college campuses at night, said SAGE co-president Cali Winslow.
"When you're always looking over your shoulder, the night doesn't feel like it's a safe place for you," Winslow said. "The point of this is to have a big group of people marching and saying 'we have the right to feel safe at night.' That's a basic human right. It should be a right for everyone."
The march began at 9 p.m. in front of the Charles V. Park Library. The crowd marched down South Franklin Street, East Bellows Street, South Washington Street and concluded outside Fabiano Botanical Gardens. Afterward, marchers were invited to participate in a Survivor Speak-Out session where volunteers shared stories about experiences with sexual violence in an inclusive and safe environment.
Winslow said she was satisfied with the number of students participating, especially considering it's close to exam week. The march was the last SAGE event in the 2016-17 academic year.
Among the marchers was Alysa Lucas, an assistant professor in the department of Communication and Dramatic Arts. Lucas is an active participant in similar events around campus, she came to the event after being invited by a student.
"I like the idea of people coming together and fighting against something that has been a problem for a long time," she said.
The march lasted approximately 40 minutes and, on some occasions, a small number of passing students — mostly men — would shout and jeer at marchers.
Winslow said those incidents demonstrate why the event is needed on CMU’s campus.