COLUMN: We must take back the night

Erin Roof

I saw my rapist standing in the kitchen. The sight made my gut lurch as anger, fear, resentment and disgust rose into my throat. I walked away with shaking hands curling into frozen fists.

It was my friend’s birthday party. I wove through the crowd, searching for her. I told her about the villain in the kitchen and asked her to make him leave. He was ejected a few minutes later.

My boyfriend knew he was there. His woman-protecting machismo kicked in immediately, hurling him into “severe ass-kicking” mode (as much as a skinny kid with glasses can muster). He and another friend left to go after my rapist, against my wishes. But he slithered away too quickly, as scared weasels are wont to do.

I did not feel good about my boyfriend chasing him. Even if he would have found him and beat him into a bloody reptilian pulp, I would not feel better, either.

A man caused me this soul-sucking pain. A man made me feel powerless and subservient. I don’t need another man to take my revenge and continue to make me feel powerless. I am a woman. I am strong and I need to heal myself. I have to prove I need no man to take care of me and my rape.

My favorite story about women’s revenge comes from my friend John. He tells of a party where his friend fell asleep on a couch and woke up to a man raping her. Just as she was coming to, her friends walked in on the scene. They pounced on the rapist, fighting him until a group of men pulled them off. Then they locked the rapist in the bathroom while they figured out their plan of retaliation.

In the end, the women chose to have all of the men at the party leave. They proceeded to beat the rapist, who was later dropped off at the hospital. He was so badly injured he was not released for days.

I am sure he learned his lesson.

Women taking charge of their lives after rape is necessary to take back the power that men stole from us. Women cannot depend on men to deal with rape. We must depend on each other for healing and building back strength.

This is why all survivors of sexual assault and violence against women should come together for Take Back the Night tonight. Take Back the Night is an international rally to unite men and women in the struggle against violence and raise awareness of these issues. The Women’s Resource Center has organized an evening of events tonight beginning with a march from the center at 6:15 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., speakers will be discussing violence against women in Risman Plaza. After the speakers, the Women’s Resource Center is hosting a discussion group for women who are survivors of violence.

I encourage all survivors to take part in the march and the discussion group. The shame involved in the act often leaves women afraid to speak up. It is time to end the shame and the silence.

Erin Roof is a senior magazine journalism major and a point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].