B-port Takes Back the Night
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 16:10
The College at Brockport came together Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. for the annual fall Take Back the Night rally.
This time around, the rally and march had a deeper meaning for everyone who attended.
Taking back the night hit home more strongly this year with it barely being a month since the murder of Brockport student Alexandra Kogut.
The goal of Take Back the Night has always been to “change how people respond to violence,” said Gabrielle Glaski, the president of Student Social Work Organization (SSWO).
The night started off with women sharing their own stories of survival or the stories of friends.
The rally ended with Maggie Spallina, a recent graduate of Brockport as the closing speaker for the event.
She captured and held the crowd as she explained how angry she was. She had the crowd nodding along with her in agreement as she professed how livid she was about the murder.
“We can’t have anymore silence,” said Spallina. “We need a moment of outrage at what’s happening to us, to our daughters, to Alex Kogut.”
The event resonated in all kinds of people from professors, students and everyone involved.
“I felt like this Take Back the Night rally and march was the most powerful I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to a lot of rallies,” said Barbara LeSavoy, the advisor for the Women Gender Studies Organization (WGSO).
“I thought it was empowering,” said Emily Bodenschatz, a freshman who attended the event. “I preferred the rally to the march because I felt like people got lost in the crowd. The rally was a huge group of people together and I felt like the line didn’t have as big of an impact.”
There were more news outlets at the rally this year, something which LeSavoy said has never happened before.
“It’s a g**d*** shame that a girl had to be murdered for there to finally be a news camera at a Take Back the Night rally,” Spallina said, referring to the numerous news cameras in front of her.
According to Glaski, the planners of the event faced a controversy this year in deciding whether the event should be in memory of Alexandra Kogut.
“It would have been nice to make the night in memory of Alex because it could have drawn more students who knew her, but we didn’t want to make it just about Alex,” Glaski said. “There’s a big picture here. We didn’t want to just make it about her.”
A new thing about this year’s rally and march was that they changed men’s role in the event.
In previous years, men had to walk at the end of the march.
It has even been questioned on whether they should be allowed to participate.
“We changed it so men didn’t have to stand in the back during the walk,” Glaski said. “Do we want to be a rape culture or a unified culture?”
“It was cool that I was part of something bigger than me and my friends,” Bodenschatz said. “It surprised me that that there were guys there — which I thought was pretty awesome.”
Stand Up Guys, an organization out of Rochester that raises awareness about violence against women and children, gives a speech at the rally each year.
“I’ve always felt a little ambivalent and mixed about Stand Up Guys, but Pete [Navratil, co-founder of Stand Up Guys], he was amazing,” LeSavoy said. “He was the champion of women’s voices. He did give really good information.”
At this year’s rally there wasn’t any glow sticks like they’ve had in past years.
LeSavoy said she thought there was symbolism in the lack of glow sticks.
“I felt that we were unified outside of having the glow sticks,” LeSavoy said. “The light inside of us was uniting all of us together. We didn’t need the glow sticks, we shined without them.”
LeSavoy said she felt like a lot of people stuck the march out through the village this year, opposed to previous years.