I’m reprinting an email (with permission, of course) that I received from Rutgers student Jess Trusiani about something that happened last night at the school’s Take Back the Night march. I felt that it was important to post, especially in light of ladychrist’s Community post about the police harassment at DePaul University’s march. This shit is why we need Take Back the Night.
I’m a rape survivor and this was my second Take Back The Night. Last year’s Take Back The Night at Rutgers meant the world to me. I was in denial about my three sexual assaults for a long time. Being able to get up there and tell my story really showed me how far I had come. It was pretty upsetting to have these jackasses act this way this year. But we didn’t let it ruin our night. I’m really not sure what their intentions were but it definitely proved to me even more just how important Take Back The Night is.
Here’s what happened:
I’m not entirely sure how many guys it was. I think it was about four. They were at the rally at Cooper Green and appeared supportive. They had bandannas covering their faces which I had assumed was a form of protest. I thought maybe it symbolized being forced to remain silent about abuse. No one really questioned it.
The rally finished at Cooper Green and we marched down George Street saying the usual Take Back The Night chants. When we reached the Starbucks on George Street and chanted, “No more silence, no more violence,” I almost got hit with a trash bag. My friend and I looked over on the side of the street and the guys with the bandannas were laughing and tossing trash bags at the marchers.
We were pretty confused and thought they were just rioting so we told them to cool it and reminded them that this was a peaceful march. They continued throwing trash bags and when they picked up news stands and threw them that’s when it got scary.
The crowd turned on them and shouted, “We said NO MORE VIOLENCE”.
The organizer of the event ran over and yelled at each of them. She told me later that none of the guys would talk to her (maybe they didn’t want their voices identified?).They had the nerve to try marching with us after all that but thankfully ended up leaving. The organizer of the event has been going to Take Back The Nights for years and said she had never seen anything like this.
We continued to chant and march to Brower on College Ave. We did the candlelit vigil and open mic speak out. Again, we didn’t let them ruin our night. I’m really not sure what exactly they were trying to accomplish. But it was pretty disturbing.
This is the Rutgers Take Back The Night website if you want to check it out:
Thanks for reading this,