In 1976, the first Take Back the Night occurred in Belgium. At that time, it was called the Reclaim the Night March. Women marched all across Belgium at night carrying candles as a sign of protest and anger against the rising violence against women including rape. By marching at night, the event carried the symbolism that women have a right to also freely move around at night in safety. The women held a rally with prominent women’s rights activists giving speeches. Other European cities followed this example.
By 1978, the march and rally had spread to the United States of America. The first one was held in San Francisco. Activists marched through the Tenderloin area which has numerous strip clubs and various adult entertainment businesses. The protest was mainly against porn in the belief that it demeans women and also against general violence against women. These events spread quickly as many activists were willing to sponsor such outreaches. Many such local marches are held annually across America.
Take Back the Night is a feminist event whose goal is to educate people about and bring attention to violence against women. Observers and participants are expected to confront these issues. Some Take Back the Night campaigns are carried out in response to a specific incident such as continuous violent sex crimes. Vigils may be held with memorials for the victims. Take Back the Night events are popular on college campuses and certain cities. Young women find the events empowering and inspiring, most men experience greater empathy for women’s rights issues.