Take Back the Night (TBTN) is a global movement dating back to at least 1975 that protests gender-based violence and more specifically, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking.
When we look back at Take Back the Night in York Region, it’s important to mention that the earliest Take Back the Night protests we are aware of took place in Indigenous communities on Georgina Island. Since then, the event was held in Newmarket for many years before being held in Richmond Hill in 2019 and Aurora in 2023; all three locations are significantly more difficult to access for those living on Georgina Island.
Indigenous women are at least three times more likely to experience sexual violence than the average non-Indigenous woman. Indigenous people are more often ignored or harmed by police when reporting sexual and gender-based violence and face higher rates of re-victimization after surviving violence. Indigenous people’s experiences of violence are compounded by experiences of systemic and institutional violence that are part of the legacy of colonialism and the result of continued racism and genocide.
As a planning committee, we recognize that the appropriation of this event in York Region was colonial and unjust; we are working to make steps towards reconciliation and centring Indigenous voices in our events.
For more information on the general history of Take Back the Night internationally, check out the Take Back the Night Foundation.