Take Back the Night is coming up on Thursday, September 17th. We’re taking some time before the event to look at some of the reasons that might keep folks from coming out to TBTN.
Reason #5 – I don’t like the idea of an event just for women
We’ve put a lot of thought into why we continue to organize Take Back the Night as a space for women to speak out against sexual violence. Please read a couple of the reasons below.
Men who are passionate about ending violence are invited to attend the workshop ‘What Men Can Do – Taking Action to End Gendered Violence’.
Take Back the Night and Male Allies
You are interested in supporting women’s rights, safety and ending violence in our community. AMAZING!
Your support is an important part of this event and our movement to end violence. We love to see our male allies coming out to cheer us on.
Take Back the Nights started as a response to the mythical idea that women need male protection to walk safely at night. Take Back the Night is a response to all the “rules” that women are told to follow in order to be safe in our lives — “don’t go out late at night”, “dress a certain way”, or “walk in well-lit areas”.
Because of this, we continue to organize Take Back the Night as a women-only space to honour this history and to reaffirm women’s strength. During this event, we ask male allies to come to the male allies event or to cheer us on from the sidelines.
Being an Awesome Male Ally Means Knowing When to Step Back
Gendered violence will not end until everyone is committed to speaking out.
We truly appreciate the support of our allies – but there are times when women want to organize spaces for ourselves.
Because of how we are raised, men are not often taught to follow women’s lead, and that may be a key challenge for men who aspire to support the women’s movement. Powerful male allies recognize when it is appropriate to take on a supportive role and step back when women choose to organize separately.
Also, male allies can support both Take Back the Night and feminism in a broader context by working to honour and validate women’s experiences.
While we know that most rape is perpetrated by men we also know that most men are not rapists. We also acknowledge and validate the experience of male survivors.
Survivors of sexual assault can be of any gender, age, income level, immigration status or ethnicity. However, we do know that most of the survivors of sexual assault are women (92%) and most of the perpetrators are men (99%).
We believe that it is important to try to the best of our ability to create safe spaces for survivors of violence. Women survivors of violence tell us that they need women-only spaces as an important part of their healing journey.
Women’s Experience of Sexism
Because of the way we are raised, our society encourages women to be quieter, take up less space and take care of others. When we create women-only spaces, we have the rare opportunity to minimize these societal expectations of women and connect with our strength, our leadership, and our power.
Women Only Spaces are Rare in Our Society
Try turning on the radio or TV to a random station at a random time. Chances are that you will hear or see something that is created by men, features men and/or is performed by men.
For three hours, once a year we want to create a women-only space and experience what it is like to be surrounded by women.
Creating Women Leaders
By creating a space for women’s voices to be heard we also create opportunities for girls to see women take a leadership positions. Hamilton’s Take Back the Night event is a chance for everyone in our community to see powerful women role models.
At SACHA we believe that it takes many ways of organizing to end violence against women and to challenge the systems which hold sexism in place in our society. We recognize that there are many different and effective ways to organize. And so, for three hours in September we choose to claim an unapologetic women-identified only space.
Other resources for male allies:
- SACHA’s infographic Men Taking Action To End Gender Based Violence
- Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region’s Male Allies Against Sexual Violence Program.
- Jacksont Katz’s TED Talk – ‘Violence Against Women, It’s a Men’s Issue’
- Jay Smooth giving men tips on how they can support feminists who are being targeted online and how men can speak out against online sexual harassment: