A primarily female crowd of about 350 gathered in the Quad behind Malkin Athletic Center last night to protest violence against women.
The rally, sponsored by the Radcliffe Union of Students, was the culmination of a week-long series of Take back the Night events.
"We need to raise common awareness about the intolerably high level of violence, to empower women to speak out," said Anne Guiney '95, Take back the Night coordinator. "One in three women will be raped in her lifetime, 80 percent of these women by acquaintances."
Speakers, most sharing stories of their own painful experiences, encouraged others to tell their stories and take action against rapists. They said women who have been raped are not alone, and should not be afraid to tell their stories.
"You need To start to speak," said Heidt I, Siedlecki '93. "You need to start telling these people that what they did is wrong."
But students said the frequently silent microphone underscored the message that many women are still unwilling to speak out about their experience or report rapes to authorities.
"I couldn't bear going before the administrative board, having them question me," said a sophomore who spoke of being raped by her ex-boyfriend in the first month of her first year. The student said she had been afraid to tell anyone.
"But because I did not press charges, some other first year may go through the same thing. You need to step forward before it's too late, or these men will do it again. You have to tell your stories," she said.
After one and a half hours of open microphone, the crowd marched through the Yard towards the Radcliffe Quad, shouting. "Whatever we wear, where ever we go, yes means yes and no means no" and "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, this sexist shit has got to go."
As they walked along the route blocked off by police, marchers encouraged on-lookers to join them. Their arrival in Radcliffe Quad was marked by a moment of silence and support.
"We don't need to feel crippled by fear, but turn that fear to anger," said Kate L. Ender '95, a Take Back the Night coordinator. "We're not just taking back the night. We're taking back our bodies, we're taking back our voices. We're taking back our lives."