Taking Back The Night
by Richard Jimenez


Every year during the third week of April, the student group Take Back the Night hosts a week long event related to rape and sexual assault in our community and how it effects both women and men. Aileen Santos, a fourth year UCSB student and Co-chair of Take Back the Night, explains how the student-held event aims to raise awareness on sexual assault in our community.

“We work on this issue of sexual awareness by creating a safe space for survivors’ experiences to be heard.”

Take Back the Night links back to when women attending the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women took back the night on the streets of Belgium in 1976. Since then, thousands of marches have occurred and organizations have been created using the name Take Back the Night, including our own here at UCSB.
According to the UCSB Kiosk, “One in four women will experience a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault by the time she graduates from college.” Many individuals stay silent because they either don’t know they have been raped or sexually assaulted or simply don’t know what to do. Take Back the Night aims to change the current climate surrounding rape and sexual assault. The week long event includes many activities which promise to inform and unite our student body against rape and sexual assault.

Keep an eye out for flyers and announcements, or find the events on Facebook, detailing the event locations.

Take Back the Night is a student group which has been on campus for over 30 years, but currently has under 10 members. Many members are graduating this year and they encourage anyone to attend their meetings every Monday at the Women’s Center (inside the SRB) at 5PM or find them on Facebook. It is important that we keep this group alive and keep our community well aware about rape and sexual assaults in our community. The group may also be reached at tbtn_ucsb@yahoo.com.

Monday, April 14th will feature spoken word performances, including poetry, songs, or other forms of expression.

Tuesday, April 15th, will include panel and general discussions about what to do when raped or sexually assaulted.Those who attend the event will get a walk through on what happens next, and will get a chance to hear speakers such as an IV foot patrol representative, a district attorney, and people who work for the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, to name a few. This will guide those in attendance through the steps to be taken after a rape or sexual assault has occurred as well as learn what these speakers have to say about rape and sexual assault in our community as a whole.

Wednesday, April 16th, will feature special guest Elaine Brown the only woman to lead the notable Black Panther Party, an organization popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s for their fight towards civil-rights and self-defense.

Thursday, April 17th, is the night of the big rally at Anisq’Oyo’ Park. The event will host student performers, bands, a key note speaker and will end with a march through Isla Vista for women-identified individuals. In addition, survival testimonials will be heard until 3AM. The rally will support those effected by rape and sexual assault, and host a safe space for survivors. The march will only be open for women-identified individuals, because as Aileen explains, “It’s definitely symbolic to women, who will take back the night and walk in solidarity.” The men who attend the rally will stay at the park with facilitators where they are free to discuss any other issues related to rape and sexual assault.

Friday, April 18th, will be a day of reflection with workshops and facilitators to speak with.