take back the night

I never get to be the same again, not since him and all the times he hit me. For years, I thought I was okay with that, but Jessica taught me better and gave me tools that in hindsight I always knew were there, but never thought to try.
On Safety, Fear, and Walking Home Alone at Night as a Woman

I was jumped once, in a lily-white neighborhood in Washington State. It wasn’t even particularly late, and it was on a well-traveled boulevard. I had my headphones on and I didn’t notice the man until he was right on top of me. I escaped thanks to luck, and thanks to his confused, probably drug-addled condition.

Over a decade later, I remain unafraid to walk alone. Nothing like that incident has happened again. I used to reside in a “dangerous” neighborhood, where I was constantly told I was foolhardy for traversing through it solo after darkness fell. But traverse through it I did, both sober as a judge and drunk as a skunk. I’d wander home at two, three, four in the morning, fumbling to fit my key in the lock when I eventually reached my destination. Time and time again, nothing would happen. I’d enter my apartment, shut the door, and pass out unscathed.


Two Female Sexual Assault Survivors Booted from Take Back the Night Rally

During the opening rally of Eugene’s 2014 Take Back the Night, two female survivors of sexual assault were kicked out by student security simply because of their radical feminist politics. Both women are volunteers for a local self defense nonprofit that provides free life saving trainings to women. The student security members approached the two women and told them that some people (unknown to the women) felt threatened by the radical feminist politics represented by their group, and for this reason, told the women to leave. The women protested, pointing out that their behavior at the march was in keeping with the safe space policies of the University, that they had not yet even spoken to anyone else at the march, and that political differences are not justification for banishing people from public space or public events. However, the student security members made it clear that they would not take no for an answer, and continued pressuring and harassing the women until they were too uncomfortable to stay. The nonprofit, Warrior Sisters Society, caters to the needs of women who are survivors of trauma, trafficking, and poverty, and provides training to a wide and growing variety of groups, including co-ed high school classes and homeless women. All trainings and materials are provided free of charge, and the group is the only nonprofit of its kind in the Eugene area. The two women were called exclusionary and unsafe because, among its other services, Warrior Sisters offers female only trainings which provide safe space for survivors who are triggered by physical contact with male bodied people. It was articulated to them that the act of excluding male bodied individuals from female only space made them threats to the identities and safety of participant at the march. When asked for comment, the march coordinator apologized for the behavior of student security. One of the women kicked out is a graduate student at the University of Oregon, the campus venue for this year’s rally, and was also a volunteer for the Take Back the Night organizing committee. She was volunteering to take photos at the march, but was told that her documentation of the event was unsafe for others and was forced to leave without completing her shift. Please call the Dean of Students office at (541) 346-3216 to let them know that this violation of student rights and suppression of women’s rights has occurred. Or email womenctr@uoregon.edu