Violence Victims Take Back the Night

Over 200 women and men gathered in the Price Center Plaza Thursday night for the 2001 Take Back the Night Rally. The rally, sponsored by the A.S. Women’s Commission and the Women’s Center, was followed by a candlelit march around campus.

Leo Der Stepanians

The night began with a performance by singer Tara MacClean. Her performance included an a cappella version of her song “”Silence.””

Speaker Steve Allen from the Men’s Leadership Forum and the Center for Community Solutions took the stage next. He discussed men’s roles in assault prevention and mentioned that he was the first male speaker at a Take Back the Night rally at UCSD.

Poet Kim Cook was the keynote speaker for the evening. She opened her speech by reading a few of her poems on different topics, including family, assault and recovery.

Cook went on to discuss the hardship she has encountered in her life and how she has overcome it. She rallied women about their roles in society and told the audience that women should not have to be afraid of the night.

“”We’re women!”” she said. “”I want to be sexy and cute and all that shit, and yeah, we’re gonna take back the night!””

Cook closed her talk with a reading of a poem she wrote for the occasion, titled “”Take Back the Night.””

“”I beg you, brothers and sisters, wake up to the moment of knowing,”” she said.

She read the poem twice, once slowly for the audience to comprehend the words, then quickly to establish the meter and power she intended.

“”We live in fear no more, but open the door to the future, when we are seeing a dream we had,”” she read.

Cook was acknowledged with a standing ovation after the reading.

Following Cook’s performance, Catherine Algeri, chair of the A.S. Women’s Commission, introduced an open microphone for audience members to share testimonials.

Twenty women and two men took the stage to share their and others’ stories. Many began their stories by expressing that they had not expected to step up to the microphone.

First-year cognitive science graduate student Jelena Jovanovic was one of those who did not expect to share her story.

The first testimonial was a poem prepared for the event by a student, then a few of the event’s organizers spoke.

“”Then there was this big silence,”” Jovanovic said. “”I thought that a regular person should just go up and let [the audience] know that it wasn’t just the organizers who had these experiences.””

Jovanovic took this task upon herself.

“”I was already shaken by the things that had gone on,”” she said. “”I was shaking and on the verge of crying, and I went up there completely unrehearsed. I felt really vulnerable and on the spot as I talked.””

In the end, though, she was glad she had spoken.

“”I was glad I had gone up and I was worried about how I came across,”” Jovanovic said. “”The thing that made it worth it was that afterward, other people from the audience started going up.””

The audience found the testimonials to be an extremely moving part of the evening.

“”I liked the testimonials,”” Newby said. “”I thought they were really powerful, and really needed, because a lot of people don’t realize what happens, even at UCSD.””

A group of women and men from the rally carried candles and signs on a march around campus following the rally. The path went from the Price Center through the Marshall Upper Apartments, down through Warren Apartments, Pepper Canyon Apartments and the Eleanor Roosevelt College residence halls, and back to the Women’s Center in ERC.

Algeri felt the event was a success.

“”This has been just an amazing experience,”” she said. “”To open up to that dialogue, to get people hearing and understanding, that’s priceless.””

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