Saturday, April 13, 2013

On Take Back the Night

As I take a break from taking notes on why Paul Feyerabend thinks we should throw method in science out with the bathwater, I want to talk about Tuesday night.

Tuesday, April 9th at UR was Take Back the Night.  For those of you who don't know what Take Back the Night is, it began in Philadelphia in the 1970s in response to the problems that women face walking alone at night.  Women are taught to fear the dark and the things that go bump within it, and Take Back the Night is intended to empower women and reclaim what has repeatedly been taken away.  It is primarily a sexual assault/rape awareness campaign, and at UR involves an open-mic style speaking event and a candlelight vigil.

It is a really moving event, but I think more than anything what I love about Take Back the Night is the extent to which it 1) puts a face to the idea of a survivor of sexual assault and 2) forces you to look at people as whole, complex individuals who have faced things and have proven themselves to be extraordinarily strong in the face of something that breaks a lot of people.  I know that I, personally, have this overwhelmingly powerful reaction whenever I see someone now who I have seen speak at TBtN in the past.  It is a combination of sympathy, empathy, and respect, sadness for what they have gone through, and pride for the strong and wonderful people they continue to be in spite of it.

I was heartbroken to see the sheer number of women who are a part of my daily campus community who went up to speak about something that no one should have to face and extraordinarily impressed and inspired by the number of strong, brave, beautiful women who refuse to let their rapists, stalkers, abusers, or scars define them.

I am proud to know you.  I am proud to fight with you.

Rachel Leigh

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