In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Fullerton College held its annual
Take Back the Night event on April 19.
The event began with a self-defense training course at the quad at 5:30 p.m. followed by the annual rally and candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. The rally and candlenight vigil was put together by sociology professor Yvette Ramirez and student keynote speaker Nancy Nobel.
The night first began with Ramirez sharing the importance of the event, while also introducing each keynote speaker, followed by the candlelight vigil
There were several organizations in attendance to offer both resources and support in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness.
One of the organizations who spoke during the event was the BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) Orange County Chapter.
Four keynote speakers gave intimate stories of sexual assault in front of a supportive crowd held in the quad.
Tears filled the quad as vivid experiences of sexual assault were being shared.
“We need this because the one thing that we need is that first step, it’s not the easiest but the first step is to either be part of event like this where you’re listening to stories or where you’re sharing your stories,” Ramirez said.
She went on to explain that hearing the stories of faculty, staff and students holds importance because it allows for people to remember that they aren’t alone, that there is help out there and this is why storytelling is so powerful.
“Talking to my friends about it, it’s something that’s very taboo and I feel like it kind of victim shaming when it should be the other way around,” keynote speaker John Cordero said.
Cordero says it’s important to speak up because it might help someone from being a victim and also to stop the abusers.
Noble’s daughter Jamie Stewart was also a keynote speaker.
During the rally Noble continuously reassured victims that no matter how they looked, what they wore, and where they were that it was never their fault.
She went on to stress that there is an abundance of help out there and that she has found support through telling her story
“It’s a lot easier when you’re able to let it out and talk about it with someone,” Stewart added.
After the speakers were given an opportunity to share their stories, a space was held for the audience to also come up and speak.
The mic was left available to anyone who wanted to share their story in a safe space. Several people in the audience shared personal stories and words of encouragement.
Shortly after a moment of silence was held in honor of victims of sexual assault and those who had lost their lives.
Candles of hope and support could be seen with an audience that joined together in a circle to recognize all those affected by sexual assault.