Spark in the Dark-Activist Report
On December 16th, over a dozen feminists gathered in Duluth to protest sexual misconduct in an event called “Spark in the Dark.” The event was organized by the Feminist Justice League in response to the growing number of public figures that have been accused of sexual harassment and assault. The goal of the action was to draw attention to the ongoing issue, show solidarity with survivors, and embolden victims who remain silent. Those who attended were asked to wear black, as this was symbolic of the silencing, blaming, and disbelief of victims. At the end of the event, protesters lit sparklers, which was representative of the spark needed ignite a social movement.
The chilly December weather may have deterred some activists from participating, but the issue remains important as both major political parties have been mired in sexual scandals. Some political figures, such as Al Franken and John Conyers, have stepped down from their positions. Others, such as Ruben Kihuen and Blake Farenthold, have decided not to seek re-election. Roy Moore, who victimized several underaged women, was narrowly defeated in Alabama’s senate race on account of a higher turn out of Black voters. Despite resignations and losses, it is important to continue to demand accountability for all offenders accused of sexual misconduct, while continuing to support victims. As exemplified by the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and sexual assault are part of the everyday lives of all women in society and are the result of the unequal position and worth of women within patriarchy. It is critical that the media attention these extensive and high profile sexual misconduct cases has garnered does not fade into apathy or indifference. Instead, feminists should treat this as an opportunity for building a mass movement that seeks to end sexual harassment and assault through accountability of victimizers, as well as mass education, awareness, and changes in the discourse surrounding these issues. Feminists should demand dignity, safety, and corrective actions in all arenas where these behaviors occur. This is why the event was organized. While the event was small, it was organized with the hope that this kind of action might spark future protests, marches, and actions around this issue. In the 1970s, feminists mobilized to take back the night. Today, it is time for feminists to organize to take back their workplaces, schools, streets, households, and all other places where power based harassment, violence, assault, and threats occur.