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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

People gather to bring awareness to the plight of sexual assault

The+California+State+University+Choir+Performing+in+front+of+An+Audience
The California State University Choir Performing in front of An Audience

The California State University Choir Performing in front of An Audience

Thomas Rodas

Thomas Rodas

The California State University Choir Performing in front of An Audience

Ricky Rodas, Managing Editor

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The month of April is officially recognized in the United States as Sexual Awareness Month thanks to the efforts of advocates pushing for more focus on sexual assaults. On Wednesday, April 26, The Gender & Sexuality Department hosted its annual “Take Back the Night” event at the U-SU Plaza. The festivities featured speakers, spoken word artists, informational booths, musical performances, and a march which were all meant to draw awareness to all forms of sexual assault.  

The event opened with the Cal State LA Choir singing as they marched from the universities housing complex to the U-SU plaza. The Choir performed “I Can’t Keep Quiet”, considered by many to be the Women’s March anthem. The rendition garnered significant applause from the audience.

Afterwards, undergraduate Psychology major and “Not A Fairytale” Author Roxana Preciado took to the stage to recite her poem “Easy”. Her poem delved into the trials that women face regarding self-worth, various forms of sexual assault, and how ignorant men belittle their struggle.

Preciado concluded her poem with a poignant line about empowerment, saying, “They say we are easy because they see our strength and they fear us. We are not who they have written us about to be, together we can rewrite who we were meant to be… we will do more than survive, we will conquer.”

The Keynote Speakers were TVF Lecturer and  Media Done Responsibly (MDR), Executive Director Shaunelle Curry and former Soul Fege lead vocalist Kelly Nicole. Curry opened up with a startling statistic, that “1 in 5 women on college campuses experience sexual assault, and over 90% of these cases go unreported,” Curry said. “Rape is the least reported crime because there is so much shame associated with it.” Curry continued to talk about the communities that are affected greatly by sexual assault. They include the transgender community and many communities of color.

Curry and Nicole then treated attendees to a collaborative spoken word and musical performance, spread out into two parts. The first act dealt with the rage induced from sexual assault and how victims often convert that feeling into shame and self-hatred. The second part was about victims treating that rage and being able to get to a place where they see themselves as beautiful.

After their moving speech, the stage was open to attendees who signed up to recite their own poems. Three women recited their poetry, recounting somber personal stories of sexual assault.  The crowd applauded their performances, offering encouragement and praise for sharing their deeply personal stories.

The event closed out with a musical performance by music collective In La Kech, who are also founding members of activist group Mujeres De Maiz. Take Back The Night organizers then rallied the attendees into a marching procession and began to walk around campus chanting, “rape culture has got to go.”

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month