Men, women reclaim night

Derek Lenehan

Students march across campus for good cause

The Women’s Resource Center held an awareness march yesterday to raise consciousness about domestic violence against women. Emily Bean, participant in the march and senior human development major, arrived early to the march to help make signs for fellow

Credit: Steve Schirra

The Feminist Union, Portage Council for the Prevention of Violence and others marched through campus, participating last night in “Take Back the Night,” an international march to spread awareness of violent crimes against women.

The movement began in Germany in 1973 and quickly spread to other nations. “Take Back the Night” first appeared in America in 1978 with a march in San Francisco, arriving in Kent last year.

The group gathered outside Starbucks Coffee on Main Street, with activists chanting and holding signs as motorists honked in support. Among the group’s members were female and male students, as well as community members of both genders and all ages. The group headed east on Main Street, turning on to Midway drive. Activists held signs with slogans such as “Stop the abuse,” and “It is not normal, keep fighting.”

The march paused in Risman Plaza for several speeches. Among the speakers was Michelle Long, junior sociology major. Long, who is also the outreach director for the Kent State Feminist Union, delivered a fiery speech to roughly 75 supporters outside the Student Center.

“The notion that women who wear short skirts and short shirts with cleavage deserve or tempt assault is ignorant, appalling, masochistic and scapegoating. We should not have to worry about whether wearing this shirt or those pants will lead to unwanted attention from men,” Long said in her address.

The Portage Council for the Prevention of Violence organized the march among the Kent community members. Several of the members hoped the march would become an annual tradition for years to come. Many members also stressed the importance of male presence, calling the march a way to raise awareness for violence against men and children, in addition to women.

Edward Kaiser, junior justice studies major, was one of the men within the crowd. Kaiser, a rugby player, came to the march with a few of his friends.

“My Conflict Management professor told us about this. We’re getting a little extra credit for this,” he admitted. “We also have to do background research on the topic.”

Varying degrees of experience were present in the crowd. Sharon VanDervort, operations management major, was among those who had never marched before.

“I have never been a victim of violence,” she explained. “Sometimes some victims put themselves in the position for things to happen to them.”

The march ended back at Starbucks Coffee, with an all-female support session for victims of violent abuse at the Women’s Resource Center following the event.

Contact news correspondent Derek Lenehan at [email protected].