Manhattan College hosted Take Back the Night on March 21 in Smith Auditorium. The purpose of Take Back the Night is to end sexual assault and violence against women while providing education about rape culture and consent.
As stated on their Instagram page, Take Back the Night is working to create safe and respectful communities for victims of sexual violence and works to strengthen and support those victims as well.
Take Back the Night included speakers like Amber the Activist, Amber Amour, a sexual assault survivor and founder of Creating Consent Culture, who spoke about her accounts of rape and assault, healing, freedom and the importance of consent.
“It is time for a Love Revolution and it is the right thing to do as well. Feminism means a woman can do whatever she wants and should be free to do whatever she wants without judgement and it definitely includes transwomen and all people of color and is intersectional. Feminism is about a lot of things but it is really just about freedom and intersectionality,” said Amour.
Students participated in activities including “I Need Feminism Because” and a consent pledge. Flyers outlining consent were created by sophomore Eva Pugliese and given out at the event.
“Consent: all people in a sexual encounter agree to sexual activity,” was one of the main statements on the flyer. In other words, sexual consent must be verbal and it must be absolutely unambiguous during each sexual activity at each particular occasion.
David Caiafa, a sophomore, helped run the I need feminism activity.
“Feminism is important to me because personally I wasn’t always as opened to it as I am now and I came to a realization that I have a lot of things whether or not it is an anger or disillusionment and I have pushed a lot of truths away from myself to hold up my own self-image,” Caiafa said. “Learning and understanding about feminism has allowed me to go into myself and understand this sense of self and my masculine identity. It allowed me to go in and ask the questions so I can dismantle how I structure myself.”
The event also outlined the legal framework of domestic violence and provided detailed information on where and how to get help if you or friend becomes victim to sexual assault.
Jennifer Neal Clark, an adjunct professor of Family Law and Law in society in the sociology department, gave a discussion on a survivor’s legal rights.
“I think Take Back the Night is not only needed at Manhattan College but on every campus to promote awareness and highlight that there are instance of sexual assault and provide an awareness of what our rights are and what our responsibilities are and where our resources are and for us to see each other and stand in solidarity that this is a prevalent issue and one that’s important,” Clark said.
The event was well attended with both male and female students who were passionate about ending rape culture, something so prevalent today.
Student’s expressed their thoughts on the definition of feminism and how we can achieve equality.
“Feminism is equality, women shouldn’t be treated any less than men are and they shouldn’t be viewed as weaker or lower individuals, and I feel like we need it because men always have a feeling that they have power and authority over them when they really don’t,” said Michael Hackett, sophomore psychology and sociology major with a minor in crime law and social justice.
“I want to see more equality for men and women and we shouldn’t have this patriarchy in our society and men shouldn’t be able to decide how a woman can dress or present herself and they should be able to present themselves in any way they want to,” Hackett said.
The event ended with a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence for all people affected by sexual assault and domestic violence. Students remained behind in Smith and were provided information and other ways to protect themselves while discussing empowerment among themselves.
“I think every single person on this Earth should have equal opportunities all around I don’t think it should be a gender issue, and it just doesn’t make sense that women are treated less just because they have different physical parts. I think feminism needs to be intersectional, I don’t understand white feminism, if you are going to be a feminist you need to be out there providing support and being an ally to every single person of every single race,” said Marykate Huwer, senior education major.