Campus takes back the night



Shannon Stroud, Editor-in-Chief

Monday evening, the lawn behind Lassen Hall at Cal State East Bay was lined with 100 paper bags with white and red lights inside of them; twenty-five red lights lit the walkway to provide a visual representation of the 1 in 5 women who are victims of sexual violence.

We don’t want survivors at Cal State East Bay because we don’t want victims

“Take Back the Night” started in the 1960s and each year the initiative hosts rallies, marches and protests across the globe, according to the Take Back the Night website. At CSUEB “Take Back the Night” took form as a student assembly near Pioneer Heights.

The event was hosted by CSUEB’s Health and Wellness Center. Manager of Health and Wellness Services Jennifer Luna, explained that “Take Back The Night” was a collaboration of different departments that included ASI, Pioneer Heights, the University Campus Police Department and all Greek organizations.

Aligned with “Take Back the Night,” Luna explained that CSUEB also adopted President Barack Obama’s campaign, “It’s On Us.” The campaign is a pledge that students can take to recognize, identify and intervene in sexually violent situations. By doing so, the campus creates an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

“We don’t want survivors at Cal State East Bay because we don’t want victims,” said Chief Sheryl Boykin’s from UPD who spoke about the importance of bystander intervention in sexual violence. Boykins rallied the crowd, she asked attendees to take a pledge to intervene when needed. Students shouted back, “We will be engaged and we will protect our people!”

Caitlin Kauffman is the confidential advocate for CSUEB’s Health and Wellness services. As a survivor herself, students, faculty, staff and affiliates can speak with her their experience with sexual violence. Kauffman spoke at the event and explained that she often hears that victims are told it’s their fault.

“Sexual assault is not your fault,” Kauffman said to the crowd. “You were not raped because of what you wore or what you said, you were raped because that was someone’s choice.”

Luna explained that Kauffman helps students who come to her from start to finish: talking to them, taking them to the hospital and maintaining a relationship with them afterwards.

Near the end of the event the floor was opened up to event attendees who spoke about their experience with violence. A young woman, who didn’t state her name, opened up about being in a violent relationship for five years.

“I felt so alone, and when I reached out for help I was told what happened to me was my fault,” she said. “It wasn’t until someone told me I don’t deserve that, I deserve better, that I was able to start over.”

This is an event that many college campus have adopted throughout the nation and typically implement at night near the end of the year, according to Luna.

“We’ve decide to do this [Take Back the Night] at the beginning of the school year,” said Luna. “Because we want to highlight that Cal State East Bay is taking an active stance against sexual violence on campus.”

From Oct. 26-29 ASI will hold “Anti Domestic Violence Awareness Week” dubbed “No More” outside of the Old University Union.