Awareness and Remembrance

Take Back the Night – Fifty years of activism

September 21, 2020

September is recognized across Canada as a time to Take Back the Night (TBTN). TBTN events are for those who have been hurt by domestic and sexual violence, their supporters and everyone who wants to live in a world free of violence.

It is a time for communities to acknowledge gender-based violence against women and girls is a global issue that happens ‘here’ at home. Activities, include rallies, marches, dinners, coffee houses, and candlelight vigils. The events are designed to raise the awareness of safety issues for women and children, and to protest the harassment, sexual abuse, and assaults experienced by so many in our society. All people have the right to be free of violence and should be able to walk at night without fear.

take back the night announcement

Take Back the Night is the earliest worldwide effort to combat sexual violence and violence against women. In the 70’s, the issue of violence against women became a topic of public conversation when a number of incidents garnered media attention in the U.S. Protests started in Florida in 1972 after a campus sexual assault and over time spread across the states.

Canadians first held a march to protest sexual violence in 1978 in Vancouver, British Columbia. 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. Hundreds of communities throughout Canada hold events in September. This year, the COVID pandemic is generating new forms of activities to connect and keep everyone safe.

In Ontario, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) and several community sexual assault centres are hosting a two hour TBTN virtual event on September 24th at 5pm EST. The pre-recorded event is free and will be uploaded to YouTube for participants to watch from the comfort of their home. Sexual Assault Centres will use social media to live tweet and post insights and thoughts throughout the event using #TBTNVirtual. Viewers are encouraged to join the discussions.

You can find information about the Ontario event: