History of Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night’s roots may lie in 1877 when women protested the fear and violence
they experienced in the night-time streets of London, England.  Others believe that the first rally
occurred in 1976 when women attending the International Tribunal on Crimes
Against Women lit candles and took to the moonlit streets of Belgium to denounce
the continuation of violence against women. While the origins of Take Back the
Night may be disputed, its impact is undeniable. Since its inception, thousands
of marches and rallies bearing the name Take Back the Night have taken place
worldwide. The hope of Take Back the Night made its way stateside in 1978 when
protesters in San Francisco invoked the slogan following an anti-pornography
conference. On that night, those who had been adversely affected by pornography
openly shared their stories with those who had gathered. Since then, Take Back
the Night events have spread across the nation broadening in perspective and
taking on many forms. Today, marches are held in not only in numerous cities in
the United States, but in Canada, Latin America, India, and Europe.

Today, survivor speakouts are an inseparable part of Take
Back the Night. Most present-day rallies offer survivors of violence an
opportunity to give voice to their experiences and publicly affirm their
transition from victim to survivor. Common components of Take Back the Night
rallies include candlelight vigils, empowerment marches, and survivor
testimonials. The goals and specific features of a TBTN rally are just as varied
as its vast array of supporters. Throughout its history, Take Back the Night has
inspired both women and men to confront a myriad of social ills, including rape,
sexual violence, domestic violence, violence against children, and violence
against women.
The unifying theme throughout
these diverse topics is the assertion that all human beings have the right to be
free from violence, the right to be heard, and the right to reclaim those rights
if they are violated.
Source: http://www.takebackthenight.org/