Friday, February 8, 2013

. Take Back The Night .

{If you find yourself with questions after reading this post you can either email me whatever question you have or read this post first}

A little history
Take Back The Night is an internationally known way to take a stand against sexaul violence and speak out about these horrible crimes. The first documented Take Back The Night event in the United States was in October 1975 in Philadephia, Pennsylvania. Young microbiologist Susan Alexander Speeth was stabbed to death by a stranger when she was less than a block away from her home, walking home...alone.

The first international Take Back The Night was at The International Tribunal on Crimes against Women. The Tribunal took place on between March 4th through 8th, 1976 in Brussels, Belgium. Over 2000 women, together representing 40 countries attended the event {in other parts of Europe, TBTN began under the name 'Reclaim the Night'}. In 1976 there were roughly 16,000 rapes reported in Rome which lead to the 'Reclaim the Night' movement in Italy. The movement expanded from Rome to West Germany, where women were harassed and assaulted both day and night. Women in West Germany held their first 'Reclaim the Night' on April 30th, 1977.

International interest in the movement continued to grow over the next few years. The next city to hold a "Reclaim the Night" event was Leeds, England in November 1977. Australia's first event was in 1978 to protest abortion and contraception. In Bombay, India, women participated in their first "Reclaim the Night" in March 1978. Across the Atlantic, the women of North America continued to speak out, as well. Pennsylvania held the first North American march for women in 1975, however, it wasn't until 1977 that the slogan "Take Back The Night" was introduced by Anne Pride as the title of a memorial she read at an anti-violence rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was in 1978 that for the first time marchers in San Francisco used "Take Back the Night" as their slogan during a protest against the objectionable depiction of women in pornography.

Canada has also seen its share of sexual violence against women. As a result, Canadian women held their first march for women in 1978 in Vancouver, British Columbia, organized by the Fly-By-Night Collective. The Vancouver Rape Relief held Take Back The Night marches from 1980-1985. In 1981, The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers declared the third Friday of September to be the evening for Take Back The Night marches nationwide.
For over 35 years in the United States, Take Back The Night has focused on eliminating sexual violence, in all forms, and thousands of colleges, universities, women's centers, and rape crisis centers have sponsored events all over the country.

My experience with TBTN
One of my counselors told me about the Take Back The Night organization and knew how much I wanted to change things on my campus, for the better. I wanted my story to be heard, so I could save a student or students from being raped.
Once I heard about this, I started mentally preparing to share my story. I have shared my story since the beginning, 4 years ago, but never to more than 2 people at a time. This would prove to have an audience of a little more than 2.
The date for our Take Back The Night event on campus was on October 18th 2012. My speech was written {the only reason I wrote things down was because I wanted to make sure I didn't mention the organization or anyone by name, as I do know the names} and I had 3 friends who came with me to support me. Also, I knew one of my teachers would be there.
There was a group on campus who did a skit about sexual violence and then it was time for the section of TBTN called 'Shatter The Silence'. I sat in the front, I was wearing heels and didn't want to have to walk too far down the stairs, fearing my knees would buckle from nerves. We sat there in silence for a good 3 minutes, and my friend said, 'I wonder who will go first?'. I just looked at her, got up and said, 'Me!'. I walked down and once I got down I looked up, and this whole room was filled with people...150 people. I started by telling people to look around them, just look around you. One in 4 college students will get raped before they graduate...when you look around that become much more real. I got a standing ovation once I was done, and listening to people talk made me cry, it was horrible to know other people's story about rape and assault, but so empowering at the same time. I could have taken over the world, I felt so strong.
Once the night was over, we walked outside and complete strangers walked up to me, hugged me and told me how inpirational my story was, and thanked me for powerful. We had a candle light vigil for a college student from a college nearby SUNY Brockport. Her name was Alexandra Kogut and was a first year student who got murdered. It was very emotional and beautiful.
I decided to share my story on the website of Take Back The Night, in an effort to reach more people. I never heard back, so I figured my story wasn't chosen. However, I got an email the other day, and my story has been posted right here {mine is the 2nd one down}. There is also a pledge you can take..I would love it if you would click the link and take this pledge and let me know when or if you decide to.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. It feels great to have my story out there, nervewrecking...but incredible.

If any of you have ideas of how to spread the word, and spread my story, I am interested! Thank you again

xoxo E

{ps. please don't post comments on this post if you don't have anything nice to say..thank you}


  1. who wouldn't have anything nice to say??

    kudos to you for sharing your experience. you are a brave, strong woman!

    1. I figured I would ask people to not comment...some people can be really cruel. I've had people say mean things to my face about it, so I can't imagine what people would write!

      Thank you for your sweet words, the mean a lot to me!!