Over 500 students and community members gathered at the front of the Memorial Union Monday night as UC Davis held its 28th annual “Take Back the Night.“
The event, which was sponsored by Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV), a group within the Campus Violence Protection Program, has become an international tradition since its inception in 1976, said Amanda Smith, vice president of SASV and the director for the event.
“This is an event where we can educate and empower men and women to take a stand against sexual and domestic violence,” Smith said. “In a large university like UCD, it’s really important to reach out to as many people as possible.“
The event kicked off with a musical performance by former UC Davis student David Ronconi and a spoken word performance by master of ceremonies Lia Shepherd. This was followed by a “survivor speak out” during which former victims of sexual assault shared their experiences with the audience.
“We are with the [sexual assault] survivors today, tomorrow and any day they need us,” Shepherd said to the crowd.
The event also featured guest speaker Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald, former chair of the Davis Human Relations Commission and a 2008 candidate for city council.
“We are all responsible for ending sexual assault,” Escamilla-Greenwald said to the audience. “Let us pave the way … let us be the campus that says ‘enough is enough.‘ Let today be the day we come together and stand up against sexual violence.“
The event ended with a march to the Segundo Residence Halls where participants enjoyed food and entertainment.
This year’s event marked the largest attendance yet on the UC Davis campus and organizers are looking to further increase that number in the coming year, Smith said.
“This was a great turnout … hopefully we will have even more people come out next year.“