April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the Women’s Center is hosting its 5th consecutive Take Back The Night (TBTN) on Thursday, April 13th. Over the years, we’ve had a lot of questions about what Take Back the Night exactly is, why it looks the way it does, and how students can get involved. To help get those questions answered this year, we’ve doing a “What You Need to Know” series focused on TBTN so stay tuned for more posts over the next couple of weeks. This first post in the series focuses on the history and purpose of TBTN.
In 1971 in New York a group of women and survivors hosted the first-ever rape speak-out that was organized by the group the New York Radical Feminists. A few years later, one of the first “Take Back the Night” marches was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 1975.
Despite some advancements and more attention being paid to sexual violence, we still live in a society where over forty-five years later there is still a need to speak out against rape and sexual assault. There is still a need to say, “It happened to me.” “I believe you.” “You are not alone.” “It is not your fault.” And, so this is why we host Take Back the Night each year at UMBC and why it still happens worldwide.
UMBC (from what we can tell from the archives), held their first TBTN event in the early 2000s for just a few years. Campus stopped hosting it for several years so as to be in solidarity with other area colleges by participating in Baltimore City Hall’s Take Back the Night. But, by 2013, it made the most sense for us to bring back our own Take Back the Night. So the Women’s Center with support from UHS’s Health Education, Greek Week, and a BreakingGround grant did just that. Since then, this campus-wide rally and march against sexual violence has been a signature Women’s Center event every April.
Each year the Women’s Center hosts survivor speak-out followed by a campus march against sexual assault. When marchers return, UMBC’s TBTN spends the rest of the evening doing “craftivism” art healing projects and hosting a community resource fair. A smaller version of the Clothesline Project is also serves as a backdrop to the evening’s events.
Stay tuned for more posts explaining the significance of each portion of Take Back The Night!
For more information about UMBC’s TBTN (check out Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter too by searching the hashtag #UMBCTBTN):
- A BreakingGround post about how the 2013 TBTN came to be – Our Own ‘Take Back the Night’
- Read a blog post written by a UMBC alum related to TBTN 2005 at UMBC.
- The Women’s Center 2016 TBTN roundup
- The Retriever Weekly photo gallery of TBTN
- The Women’s Center visual recap of TBTN 2015
- Stop by the Women’s Center on April 11, 12, and 13th to make a rally sign for the march!
Stay tuned for the next installment of what you need to know about TBTN 2017!