Meet Lauren Cichock, Organizer of Take Back the Night

 

 

Lauren Cichock is all about girl power. The 21-year-old social policy major (planning on also declaring gender studies) from Arlington, Texas is the chair for this year’s Take Back the Night rally at Northwestern. The event begins on Thursday the 26th at 5 p.m. with a barbeque. This soft-spoken new co-director of the college feminists hints at her spunk through wildly curly short brown hair and a gold nose hoop. She’s hoping to change the rape culture and bring attention to these oft-overlooked yet important issues.

Q: How did you first get involved with the College Feminists?

A: A friend and I were wandering around the activities fair sophomore year and thought it sounded interesting so we signed up, didn’t do anything until winter quarter. And then we were like ‘oh that’s an interesting topic they’re talking about this week’ so decided to go and kept going. I can’t remember the specific topic but the idea of getting to discuss gender issues and womens’ issues, things that don’t normally come up on campus regularly, that was really great.

 

Q: What do the College Feminists do?

A:  Every week we have a discussion on a different topic that pertains to women’s issues or gender equality and we also plan events like TBTH, Sex Week and the Vagina monologues.

 

Q: What’s your favorite of those events?

A: Probably TBTN just because it cover so many things, it’s got the social aspect of the barbeque and an activist feel to it.

 

Q: What is involved in Sexual Assault Week?

A:  Monday we had our first event that was Girl Talk, how to talk to your friends about relationship violence, how to recognize the signs of it and how to have that conversation with them because it can be a really difficult one. And Tuesday was banner painting in Artica for student organizations that want to represent themselves in the march and rally on Thursday. Wednesday is white ribbon day co-sponsored with MARS, three locations on campus where people can sign the pledge to help put an end to sexual violence, each person who signs the pledge gets a white ribbon. And Thursday is the meat of the week – start off with the barbeque, then go to a rally at the rock which leads to a march around campus and ends at Dittmar Gallery where we have a speakout where survivors and allies can both talk about their experiences in a safe space. On Friday is a showing documentary “It was Rape” and Saturday is a self-defense class.”

 

Q: What about Take Back the Night resonates with you personally?

A:  I really just fele that its an issue that’s ignored not just by campus but by the population and it’s something that affects a lot of people, one in three women as a low estimate is attacked in her lifetime. So it’s something that affects so many people and no one seems to care about it and that just really rankles with me.

 

Q: Are there any really memorable moments from your experience with TBTN?

A: The speakout last year, it was amazing to see that so many ppl were able to shar their experiences. It was really moving. It’s great to see people being able to share that when they normally would never be able to share that with friends or family.

 

Q: What do you hope people who come to TBTN get out of the event?

A: I really hope they just know that there is a community that is willing to listen to them. That’s basically all I want, is jut for everyone to feel very safe and that they can share.

 

Q: What are the tangible benefits of TBTN?

A: I think we were involved with more blue lights and more off-campus lighting. But I think it’s a lot about a culture changing event, so if you’re not gonna stop people from associating with the rape culture then you’re not going to stop rape. So its changing mindsets.

 

Q:  What do you hope TBTN accomplishes?

A: I hope that it expands in years. I’ve heard people say TBTN used to have 1000 people in its marches, and I’d like to see it go back up to that, that people really care about it.  It’s about changing the culture, people who care more about gender issues could be more involved.

 

Q: Is Northwestern doing what they should for issues like this?

A: It’s a little harder to say because it’s a private matter when they actually deal with stuff like that. We do off-campus lighting but that doesn’t do anything with acquaintance rape. There have been talks about reforming CAPS and a part of that is people who have dealt with sexual assault.

 

Q: What do you hope to do in the future?

A: I hope to work with gender-based issues in indigenous communities, both in the US and outside it. I became interested during a research paper freshmen year. It’s an issue that people forget or don’t even know is there.