Friday, October 29, 2010

Take Back the Night

Last Friday-- October 22, 2010, was Bowling Green State University's Take Back the Night, presented by the Organization for Women's Issues (OWI).  Take Back the Night is an international resistance campaign that raises awareness about all forms of violence against women, using education as a form of prevention. 

Precious Stones
 OWI was joined by their collaborators in the Women's Leadership Coaltion; Precious Stones, Sisterhood in Serenity, the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and the Graduate Women's Caucus (GWC).

 GWC brought a banner to write encouraging words and positive messages about women.  It was a terrific idea that several participants took advantage of, and balanced other negative, but necessary imagery elsewhere.   The event seemed to be a constant compromise between dire reality and hope for the future.

 Other co-sponsoring organizations included Vision, multicultural sororiety Delta Xi Phi, and Honoring, Empowering, and Urging-- known around the University as HUE.  Overwheleming support for Take Back the Night came from a variety of outlets around campus.

Student Wellness Connection
 BGSU resources the Link and the Student Wellness Network, as well as community refuge the Cocoon  Shelter, all came out to remind everyone that when violence does manifest, women have somewhere to go.

The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project hung itself around the audience tent.  This unique visual advocacy creates a space for victims voices to be heard, one T-shirt at a time.

(From Left to Right)
Kate Noftsinger, Shayna Noonen, Bekka Lirot, Michelle Morris, Stephanie Bush
 The executive board members of the OWI reviewed the history of Take Back the Night as well as the shocking statistics that make domestic violence and sexual assault issues world wide.

Natural Di'saster
 The most memorable part of the evening was undoubtedly slam poet Natural Di'saster.  Her performance left everyone with their jaws firmly on the ground.  Not only did her moving poem completely capture the spirit of the event, but she sang accapella; a pleasant surprise for even the coordinators of Take Back the Night.

(From Left to Right)
David Denison, Rob Koob, and Aris Kaleps-Clark
 Effectively preventing violence against women requires the committment of both men and women.  Speakers David Denison, Rob Koob and Aris Kaleps-Clark lent their voices to remind everyone it is not the responsibility of victims to protect themselves from assault.  It is the responsibility of society to guarantee the safety of all people. 

The Men's Pledge

To ensure Bowling Green's committment, as an entire community, the men in the audience were invited to participate in a men's pledge against assault.  Here, it was stated that yes means yes, no means no, and neither substances nor coercion can be used to obtain consent. 

Marching Downtown to Take It Back

The evening progressed, from the trademark march [down Court Street, across Main Street, and back up Wooster Street] to an intimate speak-out in the Women's Center.  All in all, a great success.

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