Community comes together against sexual violence at Take Back The Night

Community comes together against sexual violence at Take Back The Night
Take Back the Night event in Tucson. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Loud and empowered - men, women, and children spoke out in southern Arizona Wednesday night, April 11, screaming for no more sexual violence.

The annual Take Back The Night event swarmed South Tucson with fervor in a space for survivors to come together and help each other.

"Take Back the Night brings Tucson together to strive for communities liberated from sexual violence by creating space where survivors can be centered and empowered, by prioritizing healing, and by inspiring accountable action toward intersectional and collaborative justice," the groups Facebook event explained.

The first Take Back the Night in the United States reportedly took place in 1973. Organizers at Wednesday's event said the Tucson version has been happening since 1979.

They welcomed survivors of sexual violence with open arms inside the House of Neighborly Service on the corner of West 33rd Street and South 9th Avenue.

The annual tradition included a march through the city's streets, a candlelight vigil, dance performances, and opportunities for survivors to speak out.

"Over the years, many Take Back The Nights around the country have worked really hard to shift and change to the needs of all survivors in ways that are pretty incredible," said Jamie Utt-Schumacher, one of the organizers of the Tucson event.

He explained that the event provides a safe space for survivors, as daunting as it may be.

"Some people are very willing to come forward to share their stories. Other people, for a wide variety of reasons whether they fear they won't be believed or whether they don't feel safe coming forward, don't do so. But I think the goal of Take Back The Night is to create the space where whether or not somebody wants to publicly talk or publicly disclose that they're a survivor, they know there are people in our community who love and support them," Utt-Schumacher said.

Take Back the Night is an event celebrated in southern Arizona every year to raise awareness of sexual violence and honor survivors, the groups Facebook page stated.

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