WEDVC Takes back the night

Students participate in a step up, step back  activity lead by a key speaker during the Womens Empowerment DVC Take Back the Night Rally in the DVC quad, Nov. 4.

Jesse Sutterley

Students participate in a “step up, step back” activity lead by a key speaker during the Women’s Empowerment DVC Take Back the Night Rally in the DVC quad, Nov. 4.

Katharine Hada, Managing editor

The darkness and noises of the night can be scary sometimes. For anyone who has survived sexual assault, it could be terrifying.

Students gathered in the Diablo Valley College quad Nov. 4 for the first annual Take Back the Night rally, held by DVC’s Women’s Empowerment group.

The event had a safe, carefree atmosphere, students talking in groups and laughing, a DJ played music and kept things fun and comfortable. There were student lead activities, spoken word poetry presentations and Liliana Gonzalez from the Marin and Contra Costa County Rape Prevention Hotline spoke out on community violence solutions. The event ended with a march through campus and a candlelight vigil around the duck pond.

In her speech on community violence, Gonzalez said, “Our goal is always to empower families and help them find other ways of dealing with what they are going through.” Gonzalez wanted to help bring awareness to rape prevention, teach boundaries and give presentations on assault and harassment.

Take Back the Night is an international event and organization with the common goal of ending sexual violence in all forms. The purpose of the event is to draw attention to victims of sexual and domestic abuse, and to help victims feel empowered to bring light to the darkness – a time when most victims feel afraid to go out.

WEDVC President, Andrea Corrigan, said, “When someone experiences sexual violence, there’s a darkness with that. This event is to shed light on that.”

A highlight of the evening was the “step up, step back” activity in which a student listed off acts of harassment ranging from catcalling, to body shaming, to being in an abusive relationship and participants stepped up to the line if they had ever experienced that in their life. Both participants and observers were amazed by the number of  men and women who admitted to being sexually targeted during their life.

The last question asked was “step to the line if you were taught about consent in school,” and shockingly, only 3 people stepped forward.

In response to the activity WEDVC member, Lauren McCarthy, said “It’s really important because things will only change if we are aware.”

The club hopes to educate students on what to do in case of these emergencies by inviting groups like the Rape Prevention Hotline and Planned Parenthood and discussing the issues together.

WEDVC holds open meetings every Wednesday from 2 to 4 pm in the LA buildings, room 107.