“As long as people say #MeToo, we have got some work to do.”
That’s what students and community members chanted as they walked from the University of Utah to Westminster College as part of the annual Take Back the Night march, which the schools’ Students for Choice clubs organized.
The event aims to end sexual and domestic violence in all forms, and coming together to march is an important step in acknowledging those issues, according to Kate Tsourmas, a senior neuroscience major at Westminster College.
“We stand in solidarity with all survivors of sexual violence, and that is an especially pertinent problem on college campuses right now,” she said. “The fact that we are stepping up and acknowledging it is very important.”
As they marched down 1300 East, wearing black T-shirts and holding signs, they chanted: “Whatever we wear, wherever we are, ‘Yes’ means ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ means ‘No’” and “End the silence; stop the violence.”
Students at the march said the #MeToo movement, an internet hashtag that has demonstrated the magnitude and prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace and society, has increased awareness about these issues.
“The #MeToo movement has brought more attention to the idea of anything ranging from sexual harassment to sexual violence,” said Lexi Sheffield, a University of Utah student majoring in gender studies and psychology. “I think the prevalence of [sexual harassment and violence] has also empowered more survivors to come forward. It’s the type of movement that can bring enough attention to the cause and hopefully stimulate some sort of change.”
But despite the greater awareness of sexual harassment and violence, there’s still work to do, participants said.
“There needs to be change in policies and change in how we view survivors and in how we depict their stories,” Sheffield said.