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Thirty Years of Take Back the Night

October 21st, 2010     by Sheila Sampath     Comments

This Friday marks the 30th anniversary of the Annual Take Back the Night rally and march in Toronto.

Take Back the Night is about women and trans people reclaiming our streets and bringing visibility and public awareness to the impact of sexual and gender-based violence in our communities. Our stories include those of personal and domestic violence, institutional, and political violence. They come together, once a year, to take over the streets and to create new narratives of survivorship, strength and sisterhood.

This year’s theme, “30 Years of Struggle, Resistance, Liberation” is a reminder both of how far we’ve come in the last thirty years, and how much more we have left to go. We’ve seen a movement from second- to third- to no-wave and radical feminism, as we still work to create multiple definitions of the f-word that truly reflect the diversity of our experiences and oppressions. We’ve seen huge strides in sexual assault legislation in Canada*, yet we still see survivors of sexual assault re-victimized by our justice system. We’ve seen December 6th. We continue to see missing Aboriginal women, sexual bullying in the classroom, stranger rape on our campuses. Day after day, we are sadly reminded of why Take Back the Night, after thirty years, is still relevant.

Tomorrow, women and trans people in Toronto will have the opportunity to reflect back on the last thirty years of struggle, resistance and liberation and lay the groundwork for the next thirty years. We will take over the streets, and remind our aggressors, both personal and political, that as long as these forms of violence exist, we will not be silent. We will take up space, take over the streets and we will fight back.

The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multi-cultural Women Against Rape Presents: Take Back the Night, 2010: 30 Years of Struggle, Resistance, Liberation

Friday October 21st, 2010 at Yonge & Dundas Square in Toronto

Community Fair: 4pm - 8pm Community Organizations will provide information tables and resources to share with the public.

Town Cry: 4pm - 8pm Includes discussion, solidarity greetings and voices from the communited. Hosted by the Parkdale Anti-Violence Education Working Group.

Rally: 4pm - 8pm Speakers, performances and other presentations will take place on the Yonge-Dundas Square stage.

March: 8pm - 9:30pm The march will start and end at yonge-Dundas Square. Marshalls will provide security and guide marchers on the undisclosed route. The march is for women and trans-people and children only.

After Party: 9:30pm - 11pm With DJ Jola and DJ Zahra at Yonge-Dundas Square

Take Back the Night is wheelchair accessible. Free childcare and ASL interpretation will be provided. For more information, visit and follow @trccmwar on twitter #tbtn30.

*(eg. the introduction of Bill C-127 which first defined spousal rape as a crime, chipped away at some of the gender-biased conditions of the existing legislation and tried to improve the way in which survivors were treated after reporting an act of sexual violence; new rape-shield legislation in 1991, which provided guidelines about whether a survivor’s sexual activity could be admitted in court, and further defined the meaning of ‘consent’ in the eyes of the law)

Note: I’ll be doing a follow-up blog entry with reflections from this year’s TBTN. If you’re a teen attending for the first time, and are interested in being interviewed for our blog, please email sheila[at]

Tags: activist report, event listings

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