UO community members will march through the streets of Eugene in the 41st annual Take Back the Night Rally, March and Speak Out Against Sexual and Domestic Violence event April 25.
Fatima Roohi Pervaiz, director of the UO Women’s Center, said the international protest is meant to raise awareness and show support for survivors.
“Take Back the Night is our opportunity as a campus community to say to victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence that their experience was valid, we believe them, we support them and it was not their fault,” Pervaiz said. She added the event also is meant to be educational to prevent future harm.
Participants will gather for a rally at 6 p.m. in the Erb Memorial Union amphitheater. The march will start at 7 p.m. from the UO campus and proceed to the Atrium Building, 99 West 10th Ave. There, the speak out will start at 8:30 p.m. with survivors sharing their personal stories.
Olivia Rodriguez, UO Women’s Center sexual violence prevention and education coordinator, said Take Back the Night provides a platform for survivors to express themselves.
“We’re doing all we can to shed light on this issue, especially for marginalized communities,” Rodriguez said.
The theme of this year’s Take Back the Night event is disability justice and the disabled community.
“Disabilities are not always physical, they can also be mental and cognitive, and they’re not all the same,” Rodriguez said.
Pervaiz said the disabled community is often left out of the conversation about sexual and domestic violence but is often targeted by perpetrators.
Lydia Brown, a disability justice activist, will give the keynote speech. Brown works to advance educational rights for students with disabilities and to stop violence against marginalized disabled people.
Other speakers at the rally will be from UO student groups, including the Black Student Union, Native American Student Union and Muxeres. Rodriguez said members of Muxeres will paint half of their faces to remember those who have not survived sexual violence. They plan to hold the event banner and lead chants during the march.
Representatives of the LGBTQIA+ community, nontraditional student community and Planned Parenthood REVolution Youth Leadership Program plan to speak as well.
The UO Women’s Center and Sexual Assault Support Services of Lane County are organizing this event. During Take Back the Night, the organizers plan to provide a reprieve space in the EMU’s Duck Nest for self-care, with staff members available from Crisis Intervention and Sexual Violence Support Services and student staff members with tissues, ear plugs, resource cards and more.
The event is wheelchair accessible with limited free accessible parking near the EMU amphitheater and transportation to and from the speak out. American Sign Language and Spanish interpretation will be available, and the Safe Ride shuttle will run from 6:40 p.m. to midnight.
—By Emily Hoard, University Communications