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Take Back the Night

I attended Take Back the Night on Thursday April 26th from 5:30 until 10. It was sponsored mainly by MPIRG, but many other groups cosponsored. I not only really enjoyed this rally, but I also really think it is important.

Take Back the Night is a rally to speak out against sexual and domestic violence. We marched down the streets with positive signs and positive attitudes. We enjoyed live music and lots of food. Then there was a speak-out where women and men alike could tell their stories of experiencing violence, words of wisdom, or stories of others. The theme of take back the night is to protest the violence that happens in the streets of our communities, the sexual and domestic violence that happens in our homes, and to raise awareness to prevent future violence.

The rally in the beginning was when we were informed of statistics and the benefits for attending the rally and the reason we were gather in a public park. We gathered in Loring Park because it is a park in which many women do not feel safe walking alone in at night. We were there as a mass of women and men to speak out against the violence that could happen in our local parks and parks all over the country. We were informed a woman gets raped every 2 minutes. I think that it was important to use such profound statistics to hit home how serious violence is in our society.

During the march we marched down the streets of Minneapolis and chanted positive sayings. We held signs that stated blunt words to get our point across. We marched for about an hour. This was really a bonding experience. People who you may never see again walked and chanted together to inform our community that no matter where we go, and how we dress, yes means yes, and no means no.

When we got back to Loring Park we ate Pizza Luce, talked to our new friends, laughed and celebrated. Once things settled down we started the speak-out. This was the most important part of the rally in many ways. This is where the group became and place of free speech, of comfortable secrets. Many women and one man got up to speak about their experiences. For some, this was the first time it came out of their mouths, for others it was the first time publicly, for other it was a story told many times over, but for all it was an emotional experience. These women and men were brave and strong in that moment, many spoke only after lots and lots of debate.

One of my best friends got up and spoke about the time she was raped last year. This shocked me because she had never told any of us, except her boyfriend. She finally had the courage to tell not just a couple of her good friends, but also complete strangers. When she asked me to go with her, I was overjoyed because I had heard such positive things about Take Back the Night. I did not know how much it meant to her for me to be there until after we were packing up to leave and she said to me “I would never have been able to speak out like that if you hadn’t come. Thank you.? This was one of those times when you feel so thankful for the friends that you have and for how much you can accomplish as one caring human being.

I would recommend for others go next year to the 11th annual Take Back the Night sponsored by MPIRG. It is an experience that is well worth the easy bus ride to Loring Park. You never know who you may be able to help just by being there. And Remember…
2-4-6-8! Stop the Violence! Stop the Hate!