Take Back The Night

28 Apr 2011

first group
TBTN has been active since 1975.

The first Take Back the Night event in the United States for which we have received documentation took place in Philadelphia in October of 1975. Citizens of Philadelphia rallied together after the murder of young microbiologist, Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed by a stranger a block from her home while walking alone.


The first Take Back the Night abroad for which we have received documentation occurred at The International Tribunal on Crimes against Women. The Tribunal took place March 4 through 8, 1976 in Brussels, Belgium. Two thousand women representing 40 countries attended the event. These were the first documented Take Back the Night marches, which occurred as a candlelight procession through the streets of Philadelphia in 1975 and Brussels in 1976.

starting off
There were four gathering places. I was at the Spring Garden one.

Interestingly, Columbia University said the following:

A brief note about the structure of the march: TBTN is aware of the problems presented by separating the march on the basis of gender. We are currently discussing these issues as a group and a community. The lack of change in structure this year is not a result of ignoring the issue but is instead a reflection of on-going discussion and education.

The number of men in our march was small, but Philadelphia didn't engage in any separation of the genders.

New sidewalks are being put in in between where we assembled and where we ultimately ended up.

Here's Ann Arbor's statement of objectives:

2nd group
The second group arrives.

Objectives continued:

both groups
Both of the groups making noise in front of the Unitarian Univrsalist church where we met (21st & Chestnut).

TBTN Dupage in Illinois gives us the rundown on sexual violence:

1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape.)

93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.

34.2% of attackers were family members

58.7% were acquaintances

3rd group
Third group arrives.

Film clip (MPG) of groups chanting.

The TBTN of Tampa Bay describes their event in this way:

 On April 16, 2011, the Sexual Violence Task Force of Tampa Bay in collaboration with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is hosting Take Back the Night, an interactive event that creates awareness, empowers survivors and educates the community about sexual violence. ...

Last year, the Crisis Center provided forensic exams and advocacy services to 273 rape victims in Hillsborough County.  This number represents less than a third of all sexual assaults that occurred last year, which demonstrates the need for outreach and awareness events like Take Back the Night.

4th group
Fourth group arrives.

More chanting.

The press release from the Toronto TBTN group states:

Sadly, we have been marching and protesting for 30 years. And although violence against
women has been brought into mainstream awareness, it still persists in the lives of
women, trans people and children every day. The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre /
Multicultural Women Against Rape has continued to fight the rape culture we live in
while providing support to survivors who continue to experience violence. While some
laws have been enacted and sexual assaults are taken more seriously in certain contexts,
violence has actually become stronger in our culture and implicit violence has become
more pervasive.

We had a nice big rally by the end. The neighborhood knew we were there!

And still more chanting.

The Brevard, FL TBTN lists still more sex crimes and assures its readers:

We can break this cycle by shattering the silence.  There is help and you can find it on this site.  If you or anyone you know is or you think, may be in danger of becoming one of these statistics, contact these resources.  They are here to help.

This is about half of the complete group. After we were all sitting, we spent quite a while listening to testimony  concerning sexual abuse. It brought to my mind the Melissa Etheridge song "Testify"

I, I want to testify
My love still lives and breathes
And my soul is screaming why
The thoughts won't let me sleep
Don't let hearts break
And don't let children cry
Before it gets too late
I want to testify

I take what's said as my daily dread
I turn the page and I turn my head
I pick I choose on the evening news
Cause by cause they fight and one by one they lose

Finally, we all lit candles and meditated on what we had heard and learned.