About Take Back The Night ®
The Take Back The Night Foundation serves to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives. We seek to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.
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In 1999, Katie Koestner led the initiative, along with others committed to the mission of TBTN, to establish the international headquarters and charitable 501(c)3 foundation of Take Back The Night. Katie Koestner was the first woman to speak out nationally and publicly about date rape and has personally spoken at over 400 Take Back the Night events throughout North America. Our Board of Advisors represents a cross-section of those who have a long-standing history with Take Back the Night and passion for our cause.
The Take Back The Night Foundation seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence. We serve to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.
Women across the world are taking back their voices by speaking out against these crimes, but there is much to be accomplished in the fight to end sexual violence. Crimes of this nature continue to appear in the news in epidemic proportions. As the history of Take Back The Night continues to be written, its mission to end sexual violence for all remains a beacon of hope for the millions affected by crimes of violence. We have made great strides, but our march is far from over.
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Over the years, Take Back The Night has become internationally known, as a way to take a stand against sexual violence and speak out against these horrible crimes. The first documented Take Back The Night event in the United States took place in October of 1975 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Citizens rallied together after the murder of young microbiologist, Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed to death by a stranger no more than a block away from her home while walking the streets, alone.
The first international Take Back The Night event occurred at The International Tribunal on Crimes against Women. The Tribunal took place March 4-8, 1976 in Brussels, Belgium. Over 2000 women, representing 40 countries, attended the event. In other parts of Europe, Take Back The Night began under the name "Reclaim the Night". In 1976 there were roughly 16,000 rapes reported in Rome which fueled 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 30, 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.
As part of our mission, we are continuing to piece together the official international history of Take Back The Night. If you have any information regarding the history of TBTN or have participated in a TBTN Event, please contact us to assist us with this tremendous endeavor.
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Our board of advisers consists of 17 people with a long-standing history with Take Back the Night and passion for our cause.