News

The New Gen Ed Lottery System, Explained

News

Armed Individuals Sighted in Harvard Square Arraigned

News

Harvard Students Form Coalition Supporting Slave Photo Lawsuit's Demands

News

Police Apprehend Armed Man and Woman in Central Square

News

107 Faculty Called for Review of Tenure Procedures in Letter to Dean Gay

Vigil Reclaims the Night

Survivors, Supporters Decry Violence Against Women

By Mary W. Lu

Despite a rainy evening, about 75 people gathered on the steps of Memorial Church at 7:30 last night to take part in the annual candlelight vigil and march for Take Back the Night. The vigil was the culmination of a week-long program of events designed to raise awareness of violence against women.

Many survivors of violence, friends of survivors, and concerned individuals shared stories of their own experiences with violence and expressed with violence and expressed support and encouragement to those who shared their perspectives and feelings.

Alison Higgins '99, who helped organize the event, said that the rally is a time when "people can speak about their experiences...a time to contemplate what's going on and how horrible rape is and that we need to protect ourselves against domestic violence and all kinds of violence."

Several victims spoke of experiences with sexual abuse in the family and about date rape.

A woman recalled her parents' constant admonitions to beware of strangers in the night, and described the confusion she felt when a close relative abused her.

"We can be strong against the people we do love and we do trust as well as the people who strike without warning...we can take back the night against all of them," she said.

Many friends and supporters of survivors said they felt that the rally served as a forum for communicating their concerns.

A woman who had been assaulted two years ago related a similar incident that almost occurred a year later, while she was abroad.

This time she said that people around her were able to come immediately to her rescue.

She said that Take Back the Night demonstrates "the importance of using your voice...it's always possible to fight back."

Another woman related an inci- dent that had happened to one of her friends during one summer abroad. Walking alone at night in Jordan, a man who had been stalking her grabbed her.

Using skills she learned in a self-defense class, she brought him "to the ground, writhing." Subsequently, many women, wearing veils, came out of their houses and began to slap the man and yell at him. One of them, as it turned out, was his own mother.

Participants emphasized that ignorance of the prevalence of sexual assaults against women continues to be widespread.

One woman who had helped supervise a Take Back the Night project in Harvard Yard said that a sophomore acquaintance of hers once approached her to ask, "Has there ever been a rape at Harvard?

Using skills she learned in a self-defense class, she brought him "to the ground, writhing." Subsequently, many women, wearing veils, came out of their houses and began to slap the man and yell at him. One of them, as it turned out, was his own mother.

Participants emphasized that ignorance of the prevalence of sexual assaults against women continues to be widespread.

One woman who had helped supervise a Take Back the Night project in Harvard Yard said that a sophomore acquaintance of hers once approached her to ask, "Has there ever been a rape at Harvard?

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags