A snake-like line of marchers wound their way through GW’s campus Friday night as about 70 men and women joined a spontaneous march to take a stand against rape and sexual assault after GW’s annual Take Back the Night Rally.
Out of the houses and into the streets; no more women raped and beat, marchers chanted.
The event in Kogan Plaza included formal speakers, an open-microphone forum, a march through campus and a candle light vigil that ended at about 11 p.m.
During the open microphone portion, participants shared poetry, stories and songs.
(Take Back the Night) revives the feminist on campus, even if they don’t call themselves that everyday, senior Molly Adler said.
The event, sponsored by the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Triple Play and the GW Women’s Center, was designed to empower women to take a stand against rape and violence and provide a forum for women to discuss methods to protect themselves against acts of violence.
University Police officers demonstrated self-defense techniques taught in GW’s six-week Rape Aggression Defense program.
Some participants said the rally also provided a safe place for women to come together to share experiences and a way for them to get support.
I don’t see myself as a victim anymore, I am a survivor, said one woman who spoke to the crowd.
Other women followed, sharing facts about rape and violence in the United States and on college campuses.
According to 1998 statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, one in six women will be victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
Students said they were encouraged by the large turnout.
It is really empowering to see so many women coming together to share in this event, said sophomore Jennifer Heitel, co-president of FMLA.
Annual Take Back the Night rallies began in 1978 on college campuses across the country.After the march through campus, students returned to Kogan Plaza for a candle light vigil.
Despite the 40-degree weather, the vigil continued until 11 p.m. – an hour after the event was planned to end.
The vigil provided a comfortable atmosphere for some students to share stories with the group.
It makes me happy to know that there are so many strong women on campus, Heitel said.