Take Back The Night

Whether you realize it or not, there is a very good chance that you know someone who has been a victim of sexual assult or rape. Everyone hears the statistics: Every 107 seconds someone is sexually assulted, 1 in 5 women are raped in their lifetime, 1 in 3 women are raped while in college. Despite these statistics being repeated over and over, the problem has not and will not go away.  As a woman, I have constantly been told what precautions to take in order to not get raped: watch your drink at a party, don't meet a stranger alone, use the buddy system, verbally say no...a lot, be careful not to be too suggestive with your outfits or words. This narrative not only continues the practice of victim blaming, but removes the responsibility from the person of whom it belongs: the rapist. Almost never are men told before leaving the house "be sure to get consent" or "remember that she is a person, just like you". 

I could go on for pages discussing the sources and problems of rape culture in our society, but this would be preaching to the choir. Along with re-education, it is crucial in order to combat this epidemic that safe spaces be provided for victims to talk (or not talk), and be supported by a community. Take Back the Night is an international non-profit organization that attempts to do just that. 

Ithaca has a long history of holding TBTN marches, rallies and vigils. This year, the night was held on April 29th and was run by the Ithaca Advocacy Center and this years Take Back the Night intern, Ithaca College's own Erin Provost.

The rally included performances by local musicians, speakers and speak outs by survivors. The night was filled with poetry, stories, song, tears and a collective hope making the shared space of the Ithaca Commons an equally safe one. Ending with a candlight vigil and a performance of 'Hallelujah' by Leonard Cohen, it was almost impossible to walk away without a sense of community. The biggest thing to take away from the night, was the idea that no one is alone.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling with PTSD from domestic or sexual assult, there are people out there who love you, who support you and who want more than anything to help you. There's no easy solution, there's no 'getting over it', but there are reasons to get up every day: to reclaim your own identity, to find empowerment and beauty within yourself, to take back your night and your life. The battle is uphill, so uphill sometimes it doesn't feel possible, but it's a battle worth fighting.

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