On Thursday night, members of the Columbia/Barnard community gathered at the Barnard gates to participate in Take Back the Night, an annual demonstration against sexual violence. Zachary Hendrickson was humbled to march along as an ally.
“With rage we march, and with strength we speak.”
This year’s rally started off a little later than intended, due to the suspicious package incident yesterday. However, nothing would deter the demonstrators from making their voices heard. The rally kicked off with a moving address by Maya Nair Noonan, BC ’13. Noonan called upon the decision made by Take Back the Night in recent years to be gender inclusive as a way of furthering our understanding of sexual assault – who can be targeted and how they are assaulted. This struck a chord with me. As one of only a handful of cisgendered straight males in attendance, my relative position in society was crystallized. The sad reality is that we live in a world where my female friends are disproportionately the targets of sexual violence, and we are socialized in a way that tells young girls that they should fear the night. But as Noonan pointed out, “Sexual violence is not just another issue.” Too often is the issue of sexual violence pigeon holed as just a feminist issue, a woman’s issue, or a queer issue. No. “Sexual violence threatens everyone,” Noonan declared.