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CSULB men, women ‘Take Back the Night’

Jenny Buelna

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The Feminist Organization Reclaiming Consciousness and Equality (F.O.R.C.E) held its annual event Take Back The Night Thursday. In accordance with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a large group of men and women wearing matching shirts and red bands tied around their arms gathered at Brotman Hall to speak out for sexual assault survivors.

The night began at 6 p.m. with a rally that consisted of several speakers such as Nancy Quam-Wickham, chairwoman of the history department, Yvonne Moore, the president and chairwoman of the Long Beach and South Bay National Organization for Women and Ashleigh Kline, a Cal State Long Beach student and Campus Project Prevention Educator for the Sexual Assault Crisis Agency in Long Beach.

Moore said it is a scary time to be a woman; unity is crucial and women need strength in numbers, while Kline said sexual assault is not about sex, it’s about power and control.

Following the rally, participants took part in a march through the dorms, holding signs and talking into a megaphone towards the Puvunga burial grounds.

“I came with my sister because she is in F.O.R.C.E, and I like to show her support and I learn a lot every year,” said participant Gaby Ramos.

Another participant, Megan Adams, a senior women’s studies and Spanish major, said, “I am motivated by the fact that women’s safety is not taken seriously on this campus. Women make up 66 percent of the CSULB population, yet we are still treated as second-class citizens.”

After the march, participants gathered at the Puvunga burial grounds for a speak-out. There was a bonfire set up, which allowed survivors the opportunity to tell their stories.

“This speak-out provides a forum for violence against women to be talked about out loud – to let them feel empowered,” said Katie Sipes, a Women’s Resource Center employee. “There is so much silence surrounding rape and sexual assault, and this forum gives survivors a chance to say they don’t like it.”

Counselors were also on-call to provide support for anyone in need.

For more information about sexual assault or rape, students can contact the Women’s Resource Center at (562) 985-8576 or visit the center at Liberal Arts 3 (LA3), Room 105.

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