Low turnout for Take Back the Night

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Trigger warning: sexual assault

Is sexual violence now a nonissue on a campus rattled not too long ago by a sexual predator?

Of the 50 chairs available on Z Green for this college’s Take Back the Night program on Friday April 26, only 15 were claimed.

This was in stark contrast to the New College’s Take Back the Night debut about a year ago where roughly forty people showed up. So what detoured this symbolic and solemn march from the hub of campus life to the bay?

Note: During the Take Back the Night March at State University of New York at Plattsburgh, members of fraternity recently taunted survivors of sexual violence and their allies.

“Shut up sluts,” they shouted. Then, adding insult to injury, the insipid website “Total Frat Move” excused this vile behavior as merely “in poor form.”

Take Back the Night speaks of unpleasant truths in an unsettling, violent society.

The testimony of those who have survived rape is unsettling – as it should be. Rape is violence and rape is a power play in a world searching for a soul beyond patriarchy and subjugation.

The graphic stories of victims are the template for understanding in a world of porcine Limbaughs snarling “slut” at those who would challenge their greasy perceptions.

Take Back the Night jars the heart and sears the minds of those with my eyes wide-open. It chronicles our inhumanity as the only way possible to invite resolve. Without coming to terms with this vile aggression, we will never overcome.

It is also a time to come together as a campus – one moment in a long year that should trump all other plans – academic, or otherwise. We are, after all, here to learn.

Lynn Gusman, a third-year student and co-president of Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX) mused on the recent opportunity missed by many.

“I don’t think that there is any apathy toward sexual assault awareness or survivors,” Gusman said. “I just think that it takes a lot to get New College students out of their rooms. There wasn’t enough done to get them to come out.”

What does it take to get students out of their rooms?

On Facebook, roughly 40 people said they would attend the event.

In addition, 20 to 30 students volunteered to help second-year and former Catalyst staff writer Cassandra Corrado set up the event, which coincides with Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

Gusman noted that only a few students followed through on their promises to volunteer.

Gusman also said she doesn’t believe this campus in anyway mirrors the tyranny of sexist taunts hurled by fraternity members in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

“It was disturbing and made me feel sad and upset with the world,” she said. “I didn’t feel that was New College at all.”

Behold the tyranny of apathy.



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