Women's Center

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Clothesline Project, 2012

Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night (http://www.takebackthenight.org/about-tbtn) is an event that takes place every year in the community as part of the movement to end violence and sexual assault against women, children, and families.  This powerful event features music, speeches, the Clothesline Project (http://www.clotheslineproject.org/) and a march through downtown St. Cloud.  Tack Back the Night is typically held in September of each year.  A collaboration of many organizations plan the event, including the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center, Anna Marie’s Alliance (our local battered women’s program), the Women’s Center, Greek Life and others.  If you would like to volunteer or get involved with Take Back the Night, please contact the Women’s Center.

History of Take Back the Night Rallies

Take Back the Night is an international rally and march that is organized in local communities with the purpose of unifying women, men and children in an awareness of violence against women, children and families.  In the St. Cloud area community, the event is a collaboration of community and campus organizations and other interested persons who are ready to take a stand against violence and make the night (and day) safe for everyone.

Take Back the Night rallies have a long history, both internationally and in the U.S.  In 1976, women attending the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in Belgium marched together in solidarity, holding candles to protest the ways in which violence permeates the lives of women worldwide.  The first Take Back the Night rallies and marches began in England as a protest against the fear that women encountered walking the streets at night.  On November 23, 1977, in Leeds, 130 women sang protests songs in the City Square; 400 marched in Manchester, 100 marched with torches in Newcastle, 80 marched in York, and hundreds invaded Soho in London.

Some sources say that the First Take Back the Night march and rally in the United States was held in New York City; others say it was in San Francisco.  In 1978, the march was held in San Francisco to protest a popular pornography strip.  The LA march in the early 1980's was in response to the Hillside Strangler.  Now rallies are held in cities and towns across the United States.

The first Take Back the Night rally and march in St. Cloud took place in 1982.

The rally presented speakers on issues related to violence against women, music, a march and a videotape along with a panel.  The first speaker, Linda Edington of the St. Cloud Community Women’s Center, spoke about the effects of violence against women on our culture.  She was followed by Nancy Bader of the St. Cloud Rape Crisis Center.  Bader spoke about the myths and attitudes people have about rape.  The speakers lead up to ballads sang and played on guitar by Ruth LaDuke.  Approximately 70 people marched along Sixth Street with purple arm bands and clothing. 
                                                                                       SCSU University Chronicles In History Section, 1999

There was a lapse of a few years in which the rally was not organized in St. Cloud but was started again by a coalition of 10 to 15 different community and campus organizations in 1989 and continues today.  The Women’s Center has provided leadership in planning this community event since 1989.