“This is me taking a stand and saying no more violence on this campus for men and women. They should feel safe on their college campus,” passionate Political Science professor, Dr. Heather Frederick, said about the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance’s (FMLA) hosted event Take Back the Night on Tuesday night under the SGA Gazebo.
Take Back the Night is a nationally recognized event primarily led by women to rally against sexual violence. Take Back the Night started in the 1970s.The event drew a large crowd of females and males as they gathered to take a march around campus, share survivors’ stories and hold a candlelight vigil.
The women’s movement at SRU has been a very popular movement for years, Frederick said. FMLA is one of the primary groups on campus that focuses greatly on the implication of the feminist movements. Frederick is the club’s advisor. She is very involved with the club as well as the feminist movements on campus.
“Just the title alone, Take Back the Night, is a way for people to reclaim the night and say ‘I can walk across campus late at night and should not be afraid of being raped,’” Frederick said. “Rape happens to women in high school and college, but we never choose to talk about it.”
President of FMLA and senior secondary English education major and women’s studies minor, Brandy Geist, 21, explained that the event was very important because it honored those affected by sexual violence.
“I think a lot of times women are told the ways to avoid getting raped, but sometimes we don’t really understand how to interpret that. This event is a way to take a stand and be defiant and know that women should be safe no matter what they are doing,” Geist said.
Although FMLA is a feminist-based club, not everyone in FMLA is female. There are many males involved in the club. The club tries to raise awareness on areas of life outside the campus in which men and women are not equal, such as salary inequalities and laws that treat women differently than men that create a more difficult environment for women. Not only are thousands of women raped each year, but men as well.
Frederick explained why females and males should be concerned about these issues.
“I think all women should be concerned when women are victimized or raped or violence occurs against men or women,” she said. “I think violence in general is a thing, but sexual violence in particular is something that happens a lot on college campuses. Slippery Rock is not an exception to that.”
Frederick went on to say that men and women are both raped on this campus. She stated that women should be aware of ways to empower themselves and prevent violence happening against them and men need to understand how to end the violence as well.
“Just because a woman is wearing a short skirt doesn’t mean she wants to be raped or have sex,” she said. “Also, a lot of men don’t realize that drunk women cannot consent to sex. If they are having sex with someone really drunk, that’s rape.”
At the event, Geist stated a statistic that shocked a lot of students. One of four college women will experience attempted or completed rape. She explained that rape is not something that happens to a selected few and even students in her classroom have experienced it at one time or another.
Geist also went on to explain that not enough women are educated about feminist issues on campus.
“Do I think women are educated about the feminist movement? Generally, probably not. I think there is a select minority of people that are really passionate about it.”
Among the many students that attended Take Back the Night, senior political science major Kim Graziano, 23, said that the event was very moving.
“This event is always good. It’s very moving to hear all of the survivors’ stories of rape,” she said.
Graziano went on to explain how hearing the survivors’ stories are always refreshing and inspiring. She said that FMLA always does a great job with this event.
The Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance meets every Tuesday at 9PM in the Women’s Center located in the CSIL office.