People’s faces were visible through many windows in Aggieville, watching a rally of women parade by as they chanted a message.
More than 100 women marched from the area between Waters Hall and Hale Library, also known as the Quad, to City Park. They walked to take back the night from those who abuse and rape women.
“Rape is the most underreported crime in the country,” said Mickayla Fink, K-State alumna.
Ashley-Michelle Papon, a student at Kansas City Kansas Community College, was raped when she was 18 years old. She reported it and had to endure a rape kit. Later she was told if she did not drop the charges of rape, she could be arrested.
“No means no,” Papon said. “But that day, my ‘no,’ as defined by the Olathe police department, meant ‘yes.’”
After that, Papon took an active role in causes like “Take Back the Night.”
The night, organized by Ordinary Women, was designed to honor the women who have reported rape and sexual violence and those who are too afraid to report it.
After an opening ceremony with poems and speakers, the women marched through the darkness with chants of “Women unite, take back the night,” and “No more patriarchy, no more rape.”
As the marchers moved past the All-Faiths Chapel, they recognized a moment of silence.
The night ended at City Park with informational booths, speakers and a dance performance, choreographed by Saylor Burgess, senior in theater.
“Everyone needs to be in a rally at some point in their lives,” said Danelle Hallgren, junior in interdisciplinary social science.
Some women in the crowd carried “Take Back the Night” banners, anti-rape and violence signs and teal ribbons, donning glow-in-the-dark necklaces as they walked.
“It felt empowering,” said Kelsie Marquis, freshman in psychology. “It was amazing, but there should have been more women.”
Event organizers encouraged the women to yell loudly as they marched.
“Tonight, be loud,” said Shannon Garretson, graduate in speech. “Tomorrow, be louder.”
A handful of men followed the march in support of the women. However, Chris Kennedy, senior in political science, said men should play a supportive role, but leave the event to the women.
“Tonight is a night for men to not be center of attention,” he said.
Men do not have the same fears as women, he said. Most men are not afraid to walk to their car at night or go places with members of the opposite sex. This is the one night of the year that should be left to the women, he said.
Fink said women should not be held accountable for the clothes they wear, the rides they get home and how much alcohol they consume. There is no excuse for rape.
“We have gathered to show the community we care,” she said. “Anger is natural. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.”