Yesterday, I went to Take Back the Night at my university. This was my fourth Take Back the Night! The event included a march throughout campus, an opportunity for survivors to speak out about their experiences with sexual assault, a glow stick vigil, and many opportunities for education about sexual assault and the resources available on my campus.
It is empowering to march down the streets chanting:
Shatter the Silence! / Stop the Violence!
People Unite! / Take Back the Night!
What do we want? / Justice. / When do we want it? / Now!
The people united / will never be divided.
We have the power. / We have the right. / We are here / to Take Back The Night.
I won’t be shamed. / I won’t be blamed.
Take Back My Life. / Take Back The Night.
This year I participated in the speak out portion of Take Back the Night. This can be difficult, but it was definitely worth it.
You can read what I said below:
I’ve been accused of these things more times than I can count.
I wore the words like a badge of honor.
My confidence grew.
My voice was an unstoppable force.
I was marked with a new label.
I became a member of the very group
I stood up for.
But I couldn’t stand up for myself.
I didn’t even know who I was.
I told myself it was my fault
And pushed myself under the rug.
I believed I wasn’t like other survivors.
When I first became involved with this cause,
I learned that you can’t help someone
who doesn’t want to be helped,
who isn’t ready.
I learned I was one of those people.
If I had seen myself on the street
I would have taken the lost girl under my wing.
I would have fed her,
Reminded her to sleep,
And be kind to herself.
Today I will not only stand up for the survivors around me,
But also for myself.
The only survivor I couldn’t look in the eyes.
The only survivor I couldn’t talk to.
Today I say #MeToo.
What else could I say to girls like me
And most importantly, myself.