Tucson’s Take Back the Night offers support for survivors


Take Back the Night attendees paint denim at the 2022 event. (Courtesy of Take Back the Night)

“Shatter the silence. Stop the violence” is the theme for Tucson’s 44th annual Take Back the Night, an annual event that brings awareness to sexual violence, supports survivors and provides education on the subject.

It will take place at Pima Community College Downtown Campus at 1255 N. Stone Ave., from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25.  Two University of Arizona groups, the Consortium on Gender-Based Violence and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women, are sponsors.

Dawn Armstrong, who is on the finance committee of Take Back the Night Tucson, said that the point of the event is to acknowledge that these crimes happen.

“People who are brave enough to stand up and bring awareness around this deserve to be heard and deserve to be supported,” Armstrong said.

This is the first time since 2019 that the event will take place entirely in person. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is set to be a special guest at the event.

A survivor herself, Armstrong wanted to work on Take Back the Night because she believes in keeping each other safe and empowering survivors.

The main fiscal sponsor of the event for the past decade or so is the Culture of Peace Alliance. Ann Yellott, COPA’s grants and program director, will be volunteering at the event this year.

For a long time, the event consisted of a long march with some speeches. Now, according to Yellott , the event has turned its focus to supporting survivors of sexual assault through speak outs and artistic performances.

“Originally it was one of the first nationwide actions that were happening to draw attention to the issue of sexual assault and rape, and dramatize the issue and make people more aware of it,” Yellott said. “Unfortunately, here we are 40 years later still needing to do all of that.”

Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa, president of COPA, first got involved with the event in the ’70s in Canada. When Take Back the Night Tucson reached out to COPA for a financial sponsor, Khalsa got involved once again.

“I look forward to [the event] becoming a celebration of success rather than a study in resources, resiliency and need for safety,” Khalsa said.

The event will have over 25 local organizations set up that can provide support and services to help survivors with shelter, the legal system, out of abusive relationships and more.

Take Back the Night is an all-ages, family-friendly event that welcomes everyone from all aspects of life. More information can be found on their website.

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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