COLUMBIA — More than 75 people marched through the MU campus Tuesday night chanting, “We have the power, we have the right, the streets are ours, take back the night!”
The march was part of a national movement called "Take Back the Night," which seeks to raise awareness about violence against women. The event, which has been held in Columbia for about 30 years, was organized by the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center at MU.
The march lasted half an hour, starting and ending at Memorial Union. Participants included people from fraternities and sororities, residence halls, the larger Columbia community and other organizations.
Six officers from the MU Police Department were present to escort marchers.
“It’s always good for the community to be empowered,” said Jennifer Lynch, a crime prevention officer for the university police. “We come together as a community to find a solution for this problem.”
When the procession turned from Rollins Street to Fifth Street, a moment of silence was observed among those marching.
“At this point, let’s take a moment of silence to honor those victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence who are no longer with us,” said Danica Pape, coordinator for the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center.
After the moment had passed, the silence was broken as Pape led participants in a chant.
“What do we want?”
“When do we want them?”
Arpita Chandra, an MU student from India, said the event was an effective way to raise awareness about an important social problem.
“It’s a great event,” Chandra said. “There are a lot of countries like India that don't have awareness about preventing sexual assault done on women, men and children.”
Before the march, several speakers introduced the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center and its programs. To conclude the evening, a private session was held to give to those affected by rape and sexual assault a chance to speak out about their experiences.