Take Back the night was a valuable event

Abigail Carlin, Columnist

On Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Doudna Steps, EIU FEM hosted our last event of the year, Take Back the Night. The rally, rooted in decades worth of coverage and controversy regarding sexual and physical violence against women, Take Back the Night is a rally dedicated to reclaiming “the night.”

Since its inception, Take Back the Night has stood in solidarity with LGBTQA+ victims and their families, as well as the families and victims of men who have faced physical and sexual assault.

We chalked the steps and marched in order to spread the message that everyone is entitled to the right of safety in their communities and on campus, especially at night, despite wardrobe decisions, sexual orientation, gender identity, color or creed.

Statistically, one in four female college students will be sexually assaulted during their college career, and the numbers are even higher for those in the LGBTQA+ community (especially for trans folk). We cannot stand idly by while the American sex ed curriculum and universal sense of conservative morality impede awareness of true consent and sexual well-being.

EIU FEM frequently partners with the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service of Eastern Illinois for this event, as well as others, in order to better inform our community of the resources available to allies and victims.

We want to make sure that no one feels alone in their time of need, or helpless in the pursuit of safety and empowerment for all.

This event has meant so much to me, aside from being the vice president of EIU FEM, because I have been reminded my whole life that the world is unsafe at night.

I can try to “protect” myself from those waiting to hurt me in the dark by dressing conservatively, surrounding myself with a group, and carrying pepper spray, but the subliminal message remains; if I do not want to get beat up, violated and/or raped, I should stay home.

This event serves as a testament to survivors and victims, but it also reminds women that we are not vulnerable or walking targets. We are students, activists, teachers, musicians and so much more. We are EIU panthers and members of the Charleston community, and we deserve to feel safe in the communities we serve and love so much.

This is my last semester serving on the executive board of EIU FEM, and while I still plan on being an active participant, I will miss serving my campus in this way.

Being a feminist is so much more than burning bras or “hating men.” Being a feminist is about using one’s privilege to uplift and empower one’s community. I am proud to have been a part of an organization that has done just that, and while these philosophies will follow me into my classroom and life after EIU, I want to thank EIU for giving us a platform to help the community at large.

Abigail Carlin is a junior English language arts major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].