This year at TBTN, fourth year McMaster Sociology students volunteered at the event. They helped out by helping to serve food, carrying giant puppets, marshalling the march, and cleaning up after the event. We truly appreciate their amazing energy and all of the work that they got done. Some of the students shared their thoughts with us after the event.
This year’s Take Back the Night (TBTN) was a much more positive and empowering experience than I had expected it to be. I volunteered at TBTN as part of my course at McMaster University and I am so glad that I got the opportunity! Having such a large group of women gathered together like that and speaking out against something that is such a massive issue in Hamilton, and the world at large, was fantastic.
I have never been in such a large and fantastically vocal group of women! I was, however, pretty shocked by the lack of knowledge and tact that some people seemed to have. At one point, before the rally began, I was standing on the outskirts of the group when a man came up and asked, “Hey lollipop, what’s all this ‘bout?” (Lollipop? Really?) So I explained to him that TBTN is for women speaking up against sexual harassment and violence. His solution to all of our problems? “Well don’t go out at night then! Use your brains!” Profound. This sort of mindset is all too common in our society and events such as TBTN set out to eradicate rape myths and victim blaming.
One of the many positives about this experience was the female space. It is clear that in our everyday lives we spend most of our time in extremely male dominated patriarchal spaces. As much as we don’t want to believe it, this holds true on university campuses (Currie, 1994).). It seems to be quite impossible to find a public space that is dedicated solely to women or that is at least truly egalitarian. TBTN creates that space and it is extremely empowering. It creates such a fantastic vibe, especially knowing that you are at an event that was organized and led by powerful women in our community. It is so important to have strong female role models.
I will definitely go to TBTN again! It was such a great experience and one that I believe all girls and women should get the pleasure of taking part in at least once! And remember, A DRESS IS NOT A YES! 🙂
Currie, D, H. (1994). Women’s Safety on Campus: Challenging the University as Gendered Space. Humanity and Society, 18(3), 24-48.