Take Back the Night march and speak out at UBC

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(left) Emily Monaghan and (right) Rain, organizers of Take Back the Night UBC in the Jack Bell building at UBC.
Photo by Andrea Anthony

In response to the recent sexual assault attacks at UBC, two UBC students are organizing a campus march against violence against women on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

“Take Back the Night is a march to reclaim women’s autonomy and safety in society,” said Emily Monaghan, a first-year environmental science and sustainability student at UBC and coordinator of the event.

Take Back the Night will involve people speaking out against violence against women while marching around UBC.

Monaghan hopes Take Back the Night will spark future discussions

“One of our objectives is to have dialogues about rape culture in the classrooms, because this is an institution where this isn’t prevailing,” said Monaghan.

Rain, who wouldn’t provide her last name, is the second coordinator of Take Back the Night. A fourth-year gender and women’s studies and sociology student at UBC, added that education about rape culture is important.

“We’re [at UBC] to be educated, but we don’t really believe that people are being properly educated here,” said Rain.

Take Back the Night will target people who have been socialized and designated as women, explained Rain.

“It’s more about how you are identified rather than how you personally identify,” said Rain.

Monaghan and Rain says the majority of sexual assaults are by men

“I want to… eliminate connecting the recent rape cases at UBC to the male gender,” wrote Sarah Manshreck on Take Back the Night UBC’s Facebook page. “This event is in response to a series of assaults by a male who is an outlier, not acting on behalf of the male population of UBC.”

Rain disagrees with the view that one man was responsible for the UBC assaults.

“All the blame is being directed at one assaulter… when there is no evidence that it actually was only one person,” said Rain.

Monaghan says too much focus is being put on women

“The RCMP really focus on women and how women need to protect themselves, and there’s the notion of ‘don’t get raped’… but we need to switch that around and educate the public about not raping,” said Monaghan.

UBC student Aleksander Arsovski disagrees with this.

“I’d like to believe that at some point in time every human will be able to go anywhere safely, but at present that isn’t true, and safety precautions should not be viewed as shifting the blame to victims,” wrote Arsovski on Take Back the Night UBC’s Facebook page.

When asked if she felt unsafe walking alone at night, Monaghan said, “I feel more unsafe when I’m in classrooms… around hegemonic masculinity all day rather than when I’m walking alone, because I know [that] affect[s] me more than attackers who happen once in a while.”

About 900 people are anticipated to march Wednesday night based on numbers confirmed on the Take Back the Night UBC Facebook page.

Reported by Andrea Anthony

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