Ballet Folklorico, Feminist Illuminati and Women’s basketball. What do these three seemingly different campus involvements have in common? They all came together for one of UCI’s biggest solidarity events of the year: Take Back the Night. This annual event serves “to raise awareness about sexual violence and to honor survivors of such violence” and is hosted by UCI Campus Assault Resources and Education (CARE).
One of the things that I always take pride in as an Anteater (Zot!) is student engagement regarding social justice and activism, and Take Back the Night perfectly embodied this activism. Survivors and allies came together to speak out against the horrific reality of sexual violence. Our very own UCI Law professor Jane Stoever gave a speech emphasizing the powerful effect of the #MeToo movement, and survivors bravely shared their stories through the Closeline Project that was displayed outside Langson Library.
Source: UCI CARE
One of the most important aspects of Take Back the Night is that it acts as a platform for a multitude of diverse and intersectional organizations to connect with the student body on the issue of sexual violence. In addition to the organizations already mentioned, West African Dance Crew, Planned Parenthood Community Action Fund, the Womxn’s Hub and even Greek life were all present, not only to offer solidarity but to also share how they each bring something to the table in fighting sexual violence and bringing support to survivors.
In a time where sexual violence is doubted as a legitimate concern and is constantly politicized by elected officials, these organizations are doing the necessary work to validate survivors and the #MeToo movement. Specifically, the exposure CARE receives from Take Back the Night can change someone’s life. It might spark in someone the courage to seek help, to share their story, to make a difference.