Learning Feminism

April 14, 2009

Take Back the Night?

Filed under: Local — Joce Claire @ 4:46 pm

I went to my university’s Take Back the Night event last night, and it made me so angry. It was sponsored by various groups, including NOW (which for some reason at my school includes male members), the National Panhellenic Council (association of black sororities), the Pan-Hellenic Council (association of mostly white sororities), and the Sexual Assault Response Team. The organizers went out of their way to be male-inclusive. They showed a powerpoint of celebrity victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and included a picture of Chris Brown as a victim. I figure their reasoning was that he grew up with an abusive father, but jesus christ. He shouldn’t be listed as a victim.

The presentation also included some statistics that made no sense. Parse the following:

1/4 women is a victim of sexual assault by age 18

1/6 men is a victim of sexual assault by age 18

10% of sexual assault victims are male

How does that math make any sense?

After the presentation, we had a march around campus. Our chant was: “We are women! We are men! Together we fight! To take back the night!” 


I thought the whole point was that women wanted to take back the night so we could walk the streets without being sexually harassed or risking rape? The right men already have

At the start of the march, women (including me) were in front. A group of men passed up during the march and ended up leading. They also shouted their part of the chant as loud as they could, so it sounded like: “We are women! We are men! Together we fight! To take back the night!” It was just like everything I’ve read about men needing to dominate every group they are a part of. They always have to be the loudest voices, even when we’re supposed to be fighting for women’s right not to be harassed by them.



  1. Hi Jocelyn! I’m glad you’ve got yourself a blog 🙂

    A while back, the London Reclaim the Night Marchers were considering making the event woman-only. Men did not take kindly to being excluded as I recall, and I think men showed up anyway, despite not being wanted. I am so not surprised to hear how the men overran the event at your school. They can’t be seen to be taking their lead from women, now, can they?

    Plus, feminism itself has been so far divorced from the actual female people it was intended to liberate, and has instead become associated with a “humanism” that includes gay men, transgendered men, boy children, “non-violent” males, poor males, nonwhite males, environmentalist males, and on and on. It’s gotten to the point where feminism is now just an academic philosophy a man can gain expertise in, just like Marxism, regardless of any actual personal stake.

    It’s annoying. I wish men wouldn’t call themselves feminists.

    Sorry to drag things somewhat off-topic.

    Comment by Margaret — April 16, 2009 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

    • It’s not off-topic at all.

      I looked around the room at all the men (I’d say 30-40 men and 60-70 women showed up, but I’m terrible at estimating crowds) and wondered how many of them had raped or beaten a woman.

      Comment by joceclaire — April 16, 2009 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  2. ***I looked around the room at all the men (I’d say 30-40 men and 60-70 women showed up, but I’m terrible at estimating crowds) and wondered how many of them had raped or beaten a woman.***

    Good lord. A 30% showing. And if they hadn’t raped or beaten any women, they’d certainly catcalled or groped a woman, or they look at porn, or they’ve stood by and done nothing while a friend raped/beat a woman. They are irredeemable.

    Comment by Margaret — April 17, 2009 @ 5:57 am | Reply

  3. I agree that feminism has taken on this global front in supporting ALL oppressed people. In a Women’s Studies class we were taught that feminism is about equality for all. And I support that. But perhaps feminism has strayed a bit from the target demographic (females) and that is unfortunate. But, Take Back the Night is about sexual abuse as well as physical abuse, and men aren’t immune from either of those things. Whether some men have been physically or sexually assaulted, as a child or as an adult, by other men or by women.. they are still victims and do still struggle with the emotional side effects just as women do. And for that reason I don’t believe it should be gender exclusive.

    Comment by whoische — April 26, 2009 @ 1:02 am | Reply

  4. At my university, our Take Back the Night march was women-only. However, we do have a growing group of educated male allies that participated in our beginning rally and held a candlelight vigil and discussion while we marched.

    I think it is very important for men to participate in events like these, but to a certain extent. The march is about women taking back the streets, WITHOUT having to have male escorts or fearing for their lives. However, feminism isn’t just for women. It’s certainly centered around equal rights and eliminating instititional sexism, but the stereotypes of femininity and masculinity limit men as well as women. We cannot achieve equality without also educating men about their unearned privilege, and partaking in events such as TBTN aids in that. Men who otherwise may never have been exposed to women’s rights and feminism get a chance to hopefully learn from them.

    Great post. I’m sorry your TBTN wasn’t as amazing as it should have been.

    Comment by elementalsong — April 29, 2009 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

    • Thank you! Your event sounded about right. I think it’s great that men came to support women’s rights, and of course I think it’s important for men to be educated about rape and domestic abuse. But the way they joined and then led our march and chant was just wrong.

      Comment by joceclaire — April 29, 2009 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

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