Often, it is hard to grasp the severity of rape until it enters your life. Sure, you realize it is a gruesome act, you get that it’s horrible, but until it becomes some sort of reality, you may never fully understand the impact rape has upon its victims and even their loved ones.
Take Back the Night allows audience members to get a glimpse into the crime. This is perhaps (and hopefully) many people’s only chance to enter into the story of a rape victim and experience the slightest bit of their pain. Through experiencing their stories, the audience might better understand rape and the roll it plays in the lives of its victims and our culture at large. Through this understanding, we are better suited to show empathy and compassion. Through this understanding, we can better support victims of rape and sexual assault. And hopefully, we can band together to start to put an end to the rape culture.
I’ve sat besides women I love as they have confessed their secrets to me. As they recounted the nights they were raped, and I’ve tried my best to support them in their recoveries, in whatever way I could and can. It is an issue that when raised, I can’t help but be kicked in the gut with a smack of sadness and anger all balled up into one violent emotion so strong, it is hard to hide. I even struggle holding back tears as I write this article, and damn it, I’m writing it in the public eye of the O’Neill course reserves.
I first went to Take Back the Night last year. To call it profound is an understatement. To call it empowering doesn’t even begin to touch its influence.
To the women and men who have ever spoken at the event, and to the women and men who will speak this Wednesday night, I thank you. I thank you for sharing your stories and helping the community of victims see that they are not alone. I thank you for sharing your stories and helping the community of bystanders understand the impact of rape. I thank you for showing us that we can overcome this crime.
I admire your courage for standing in front of so many strangers and telling a story that is so private. I admire your strength for allowing yourself to be so vulnerable so that you might help all those who sit listening in the audience. Thank you for standing up at that podium and showing us that rape doesn’t have to define the victim’s sense of self forever; thank you for showing that one can move past that night. That one can take back that night.
I write this article encouraging the entire Boston College community to set aside the 6:00 PM hour on Wednesday night to support the courageous students who will share their stories. Together, as a BC community, we have the ability to come together and speak out against rape and sexual assault. Yes, it is time we come together as men and women looking out for one another, to do everything in our power to put an end to this violent act.
You’ll see Her Campus BC at Take Back the Night, we hope to find you sitting with us.