Take Back the Night 2007

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A Brief History of Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night is an international tradition, which cities around the world have participated in since 1973.  The first Take Back the Night in the United States was a national protest march down San Francisco’s pornography strip.  Throughout the years, Take Back the Night has expanded its focus to include ending all forms of violence against women and transforming a culture that endorses the oppression of women.  The main focus of this program is to demand an end to rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, incest and sexual harassment.  The highlight of Take Back the Night is the march, when women walk through the night and reclaim the streets.

The act of marching and demanding safe streets is a very powerful experience.  One of the participants in an early New York Take Back the Night March stated, “The March was a way of demonstrating our commitment to stopping the tide of violence against women, whether by rapist or batters or image makers in the mass media…Chanting slogans such as ‘No More Profit Off Women’s Bodies,’ we filled the street entirely, blocking off traffic and completely occupying the Broadway strip for three blocks.  For an hour, and for the first time ever, Broadway belonged not to the barkers, pimps, or pornographers, but instead to the songs, voices, rage and vision of thousands of women.” (Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography, edited by Laura Lederer, 1980.)