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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 10, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Editorial: Advocating for survivors of sexual assault is crucial

On April 21, the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County held its 39th Take Back the Night event. In a display of solidarity and support of victims of sexual assault, members of the Ithaca College, Cornell University and larger Tompkins County communities marched to The Commons and held a rally where participants listened to speakers and musical performers and talked about their own experiences with sexual assault. While the Take Back the Night movement has been prevalent in both the second and third waves of feminism since the movement’s conception, the added context of the #MeToo movement — which has been reignited this year — has largely contributed to the importance of the event to this year’s participants.

The organizers of the event recognized this, making the theme Justice for #MeToo. Although the movements are similar to each other, the collaboration of the two is important for their advocates to reach a common goal: justice for people who have dealt with sexual assault, harassment and violence. While Take Back the Night fights against sexual, domestic and relationship violence, the #MeToo movement speaks to a more concentrated issue: the rampant amount sexual assault happening to women in all spheres of their lives.

Given Tompkins County’s high concentration of college students and academic communities, it is even more crucial that these movements be discussed and outwardly supported. Living in a campus community, the risk of sexual assault that women face is even higher. Even for those who have not been assaulted or harassed, the fear of such acts is more present in the college environment.

As a result of their collaboration, rather than becoming redundant, the two movements have helped these important issues to be brought to the forefront of public awareness and local media. In tandem, these movements contribute to the larger, widespread reckoning of perpetrators of sexual abuse that has taken our nation, and the world, by storm — and rightfully so.

Overall, anti-sexual assault and other feminist movements working together and collaborating to promote advocacy in their communities is crucial, especially for college-heavy communities like Tompkins County. The common ground found among them is beneficial to the people they are advocating for, and hopefully, it will continue to remain prevalent and active in our community.