Take Back the Night (TBTN) is an annual march, rally, and speak out event against sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and child sexual abuse. This year it will happen on Apr 28, 2023. Here, on our website, is some more information: https://www.actompkins.org/
Our 2023 theme is “Reclamation.” We believe that survivors have the right to reclaim their bodies, their voices, their space, their stories, and their power. We hope that this Take Back the Night inspires everyone to understand their own role in reclaiming their right to safety, consent, healthy love, and more.
One of our own volunteers coordinating Take Back the Night created this anonymous blog post around reclamation and her own experiences.
We’ve all heard the statistics. 1⁄6 women will be raped in their lifetime. Females between the ages of 16-19 are 4x more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault than the general population. Even despite these striking statistics, to most, sexual assault and domestic violence are far more prevelant issues than most are willing to admit. This prevalence makes awareness events like Take Back the Night not only important, but essential.
The theme for this year’s event is reclamation, and it feels incredibly fitting as I have spent the past year and a half trying to reclaim all the parts of myself that were, for three years, taken away from me. When I was 14, I got involved with someone who ended up being my tormentor for years to come. Reclaiming parts of myself and my life have been the second most empowering part of the healing process.
I reclaim my autonomy. The ability to decide for myself what I do and don’t want to do. Who I want to hang out with. Who I want to talk to. What I want for dinner. What college I want to go to. What I want to wear to school.
I reclaim my life. The ability to make it whatever I want to. The ability to make it the one I want, not the one someone wants for me . The ability to be myself and be true to myself.
I reclaim my body. The same body that was used and abused by someone who didn’t deserve to ever lay a hand on me at all. The body he got in the face of and screamed at. The one he shoved to the ground. Over and over again. Did he only love me when I was that far beneath him? The one he fucked afterwards in some attempt to make him feel better about himself. That body is MINE, and I take back the night to reclaim it as such.
My autonomy. My body. My life. My freedom. My choices. I reclaim it all.
Going through an abusive, toxic relationship during a time in which I was forming my beliefs about myself, about love, about relationships, and about the world, proved to be incredibly detrimental for the way in which I situate myself in and interact with the world. I’ve had to reclaim everything about myself, even the way I think about myself in my own head. But through doing so, my eyes have been opened to how wrong the ideas about myself placed into my head by my abuser had been; to how I would never allow someone to treat me or make me feel that way ever again.
I am a work in progress. I am reclaiming myself and putting the pieces back together after the wreckage my abuser turned my life into. I was isolated, depressed, anxious, confused, and lonely when my relationship ended. My life felt bitterly empty without him in it. Thank god for the emptiness; it made room for better things and better people in my life. Reclamation, like healing, is not linear, but everyday I tackle a new struggle and am one step closer to healing.
Reclamation is powerful. It has wildly transformed my life. But the most impactful lesson that I’ve learned during my healing journey is that the most empowering thing you can do is turn pain into something positive. Take Back The Night is one of the ways I’m doing so; just as the pain of hundreds of survivors gathering together is amplified, so is the power that comes from hundreds of survivors fighting back and reclaiming their autonomy.
Please share this flyer with information about Take Back The Night 2023 widely. Right click and download the image below or access the PDF here.