Responses to Take Back the Night

This is only a sampling of the many powerful responses we received to Take Back the Night on April 30. Thank you for being a part of this important night. – The Rape and Sexual Assault Network

Thank you (everyone) for having the courage and the caring to come to Take Back the Night. Thank you (survivors) for having the courage and the caring to share your stories.

Thank you to all the people with open arms, who know how to listen, and how to walk away. Who know how to talk, and how to simply hold. Thank you for building a love based in respect, in caring.

With the courage and the caring to support, to speak out, to love truly and well, we slowly start not just to heal the hurt hidden so deeply inside, but also to build the community that might prevent such wounds and scarring in the first place.

Thank you for that hope.

Sometimes I feel so frustrated. Why should I care? I am not a survivor of rape or sexual assault. I don’t have close friends or loved ones who I know are survivors. Yes, I know survivors, but I don’t really have any personal experience with rape or sexual assault.

So why does it matter so much to me? Why does it hurt? Why should this be my issue? Because this affects everybody. I have every right to be angry. I am furious. And I’m frightened. This is my issue. This is everyone’s issue.

With each successive year Take Back the Night has found me feeling disheartened and frustrated with the knowledge that sexual assault occurs so frequently, in a society (ours) which often insistently turns a blind eye to the real and horrible experiences of sexual violence.

This year in particular, I had heard of several very disturbing statements made by members of the community that belied their ignorance of their issues. Suddenly I was afraid that those who needed to hear what is said at Take Back the Night will never be there. I questioned whether what we were doing would, or ever did, make a difference.

Each year, however, my experience of Take Back the Night has given me new hope for our community to fight sexual assault and has reminded me why it is so important that we gather and create a space to speak about these very real experiences. To everyone who spoke and attended tonight, I hope that this will continue, or begin, a process of healing.

As I marched from the science quad to Stetson, I was at the head of the procession, and I looked back to gaze upon the line behind us. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen: a serpentine of candlelight, united bodies that stretched farther than I could see. Thank you.

The man I love, the man I’ve loved since I was 15, and with whom I make love, was sexually molested when he was 6. He told me this one night, after we had had sex. It was dark and we cried and he didn’t want to talk about it anymore. And 3 days ago he told me – reminded me of this incident – on the phone.

I wasn’t there to hold his hand or catch his tears, but my heart held a pain, an anger, a knowledge that our bodies are sacred vessels and sex is a sacred tool of expression. But the first thing he knew of sex was a knife, a dangerous ripping tool that violated.

I need help in quelling the pain I feel for him. But I needed to hear these voices tonight to know more, to understand—sex needs to be talked about, good, bad, painful, spiritual, loving . . . I don’t know. But thank you.

Thank you to all who spoke. Perhaps next year I will be able to as well. The courage you have is amazing. Thank you for the inspiration. To all who did not come – there is nothing better you could do with your night than give your time to these survivors.

Thank you for putting on such an amazing, powerful event and for giving a voice to people who are unable to speak or find a name for what has happened to them.

I am a senior. I have never attended Take Back the Night before. I had always been busy and didn’t see how the event would really help anything anyway. I was wrong. I listened and discovered how many people I knew on campus who had been raped. And the many people who attended and listened, we helped.

Our show of support was important. Because maybe other victims were in the audience and maybe seeing so many people march against these horrible acts gave them strength. I didn’t change the world, but the event is important. So next year I urge all of you to go. It does matter.

The thing that stood out the most for me was one statement. “She had learned that the way to not get hit was to give a man a blow job.” That made me cry. It just is not okay.

Words from the broken hearted, the battered souls, the wounded spirits are the most inspiring, most beautiful, most painfully honest I have ever heard. Such beautiful and strong people. Just a word or a thousand words to let us know, to let themselves know – that no pain is justified.

I’m not really sure what I want to say. There is so much pain and I can’t fix it. It doesn’t stop hurting – the pain spreads to friends and supporters and their friends. The violence needs to stop.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *