Aztecs rally to take back the night

by Elisse Miller

Last Tuesday, San Diego State’s student organization Womyn’s Outreach Association hosted an event promoting the end of domestic violence and abuse entitled “Take Back the Night.” As described by WOA President Lily Khuu, it is “a night where victims and supporters are to ‘take back the night’ by raising awareness that women and men should feel comfortable on and off campus, or wherever they are, at night. It is a comfortable place for victims to come together and share their stories.” The event started with a protest-like march around campus, complete with picket signs and chants containing phrases such

“Two-four-six-eight, no more date rape!” and “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no!’” Child and family development sophomore Sofia Flores shared her passion for this issue by saying, “Personally, it hits close to home. I know many family members who have been abused. For me, it’s just seeing them go through it; it’s painful for them; it’s painful for everyone around them. If people could see what they go through, they would be able to understand that this is not something you can just brush off and it’s an important issue in our society.”

Oliver Murch, member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity stated, “It’s good that us SAE men are going out and spreading the word because in the end, men do have the power to make a difference and that’s something people don’t understand. When you see guys in Greek life wearing letters and going around expressing how rape is not OK and consent is necessary, it’s just a positive influence on our school.”

After the march, attendees were given pizza and were encouraged to receive information from several tabling groups such as Planned Parenthood, Jeans for Justice and Fraternity MANners. Everyone then gathered into Scripps Cottage where keynote speakers and poets presented empowering speeches to the group. SDSU’s own Dr. Susan Cayleff told the story of former Women’s Resource Center Director and abuse victim Andrea O’Donnell, the namesake of SDSU’s WOA.

Speakers also made a point to recognize domestic abuse and sexual violence does not only happen between heterosexual couples; homosexual couples can experience such tragedy and young males are oftentimes incest victims. Candles were lit and passed out to all attendees as part of a candlelight vigil to reflect and respect victims. Arguably the most powerful aspect of the event was closing with an open mic portion. Attendees shared their stories and feelings about struggles with repeated physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse.

Some victims were even comfortable enough to publicly share their stories for the first time. Khuu summarized the feeling of the night by saying, “My message is no matter how much I have suffered through being a victim of domestic violence, I want to help all the victims to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence. My goal is not only that we have a huge turnout, but that people come out for a little bit of healing and to send the message that no matter what kind of person you are, you know there are victims out there.”