Did you know that one out of every six American women has been the victim of a complete or attempted rape? Did you also know that there are groups on campus that strive to put an end to violence against women? On Friday, May 21, V-Day and the Downer Feminist Council combined their efforts to hold their first “Take Back the Night” event.
The evening began with a women-only masturbation workshop, a sex toy workshop for men and women, and a sex toy raffle, events sponsored mainly by the DFC.
V-Day then sponsored a rally and march, in which about 12 people carried signs, marched, and chanted slogans like “Hey hey, ho ho, date rape has got to go,” and “Women and men unite to take back the night.”
A screening of Erin Brockovich followed the march.
The event as a whole was successful. It is estimated that around 50 people attended the sex toy workshop.
The march fared slightly worse. “We think that the weather put a damper on things, to say the least, as we had to use our rain site [Riverview] instead of having Wriston’s amphitheater for home base as planned,” said Sarah Leet, V-Day treasurer.
The evening’s events served as a reminder that the situation is more serious than some might think. According to the Take Back the Night script, “rape and sexual assault are rampant in the United States, and although sexual violence against women is slowly decreasing, the U.S. still reports the highest numbers of sex crimes of any industrialized nation in the world.”
The first Take Back the Night rally was held in Europe in 1973, as part of a response to a series of sexual assaults, rapes, and murders. The first rally in the United States was held in San Francisco in 1978, and currently, marches are held in cities in the United States, Canada, Latin America, India, and Europe.
V-Day exists as an “organized response against violence towards women,” whose members strive for “a world where women live safely and freely,” according to the group’s website.
Meanwhile, the DFC “is a feminist organization that invites students of all genders to work together to identify, assess, and address gender issues on the LU campus and beyond,” according to its website. Its members seek to promote “gender equality through discussion, education, and political action.