Devine Kelly, a Californian spoken word artist and activist, spoke at the annual Take Back the Night rally. (Photo by Dominick Ojeda / Staff Photographer)

Dominick Ojeda

UCSB’s annual Take Back the Night rally at the Storke Plaza lawn on April 18 allowed students on campus to be a part of a safe community while discussing sexual violence on campus.

With the help of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, Planned Parenthood, and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), third year psychology and brain science major and co-chair of Take Back the Night, Midory Ibanez, organized the event. The rally is part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“The main thing with this event is just to raise awareness of interpersonal violence around campus and generally, because it happens everywhere,” said Ibanez during an interview with The Bottom Line.

This event focused on the speakers, who spoke about their experiences with sexual violence and how they healed after the incidents. Many attendees knew someone or were personally affected by sexual assault, and Ibanez hopes this event encourages victims to utilize the resources on campus and speak up.

Devine Kelly, spoken word artist and sexual violence educator, spoke about how she left her sexual abuser and is now prospering. After having her neck broken, becoming pregnant, and being emotionally and financially dependent on her ex-boyfriend, Kelly left him. She completed a bachelor’s degree at CSU San Marcos in human development with a core in counseling while she took care of her son. 

Founder of Report It, Girl Kat Alexander gave a speech about her struggle during medical school when she was haunted by childhood sexual assault traumas and an unsupportive environment. Report It, Girl is an online organization for victims to share and heal through writing.

After she received her masters, Alexander started Report It, Girl as a means for other victims to start the healing process. She shared her steps to healing: 1. Dial Into Your Body, by taking a breath or alone-time 2. Putting Words to Experience, through writing, speaking, and thinking 3. Connecting to a Healing and Supportive Community, by reaching out to the resources and support systems available.

Some events taking place for Sexual Assault Awareness Month include CARE’s “Let’s Talk About Survivor Allyship” on April 26 in the Santa Rosa Lounge. The UCSB Police Department also offers a Women’s Defense Program to inform and arm women with the power to defend themselves in violent situations.

If you or someone you know would like to reach out to start a path of healing from sexual violence, there are resources available:

Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center: 805-963-6832
UCSB CARE: 805-893-4613
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
UCSB Take Back the Night – Meetings 7 p.m., Women’s Center Conference Room, SRB
Report It, Girl – reportitgirl.com

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