Take Back the Night: is a foundation that seeks to end sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence. The motive behind its message is to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.
A month or so back I took part in this rally at Halifax Victoria Square Park.
I’ve never been part of a rally before and I must say, it was a pretty awesome to say the least!
The TBTN march started off with speeches on rape culture and how sexism and violence against women are naturalized. There was also a slam poetry done in regards to pushing back against a world that tells women not to walk alone in their own neighborhoods, not to look too queer or show too much skin, not to drink too much or flirt too much or let down your constant vigilance for one second. After that, we took to the streets and I think we did the march for what felt like about 2 hours or so. I have a video of the protest. Powerful stuff:
While the underlying purpose of TBTN is so great and so empowering, I can’t help but think about the slogan of the organization. You can’t Take Back something women and LGBT people never had. What we need to do is Take Down the structures responsible for the criminal climate of fear that we live in; Take Down the structures responsible for the exploitation, humiliation, and degradation that we experience every day.
I realize TBTN is a step in that direction but the fact that we have never been given these rights needs to be emphasized. It’s important to recognize that we have never been allowed to experience that kind of freedom. Also, it’s not progress to be “given” these rights either. These rights are simply corrections of crimes that were committed against us. The few rights and freedom that we have today were not given freely either. We had to wrench them from the same hands that are still trying to hold us down today.
I think Malcolm X explained this tricky relationship to the idea of “progress” best. When asked if he thought if progress had been made in the struggle for civil rights, he said, “If you stick a knife into my back 9 inches and then you pull out 3 inches, that’s not progress.”
We need to remember this. The freedoms we fought for and won are not progress but corrections of massive injustices perpetrated against us time and again and still occurring across the globe. As long as there are laws and cultural practices that restrict human rights, we are all at risk.
Henry Barthes: [DOUBLETHINK is on the blackboard, from Orwell’s “1984”. When none of the students knows what it means he tells them] It’s deliberately believing in lies while knowing they’re false.