Monday, December 3, 2007

take back the night

walking home this evening
i notice the sky is that deep cold winter blue
just like i remember
and the thin wispy clouds come and go like pipe smoke above
my own breath creates a shadow of fog behind me
and the air is so frigid i wonder if it might shatter like ice in the wind
there is something so familiar about this piercing chill
something my bones will never forget
even years after leaving the north country
yet on this solitary winter night
i sense something is different
what is this peculiar feeling
this mysterious strangeness inside
i seem to be missing something that for so long i have carried
what could i have forgotten
and then it hits me
to fear my aloneness in the dark tonight
i forgot to check over my shoulder
i forgot to strain my ears for the slightest wary sound
i forgot to prepare myself for someone to jump out from behind those bushes over there
i am making my way through the lateness of this dark and icy night
unconcerned with fear
i am alone
here and there others are finding their way through the winter darkness too
to fear them is not even a thought this time
my body feels strangely at home
no need for armor dear one she says
let's simply walk home with a softness of ease tonight
looking up at the night sky and around at the naked trees
noticing how lovely it feels to be here
how free to be alive and unafraid

take back the night’s roots may go all the way back to 1877 when women protested the fear and violence they experienced in the night-time streets of london.
others believe that the first rally occurred in 1976 when women attending the international tribunal on crimes against women lit candles and took to the moonlit streets of belgium to denounce the continuation of violence against women. since then, thousands of marches and rallies bearing the name "take back the night" have taken place worldwide.
take back the night made its way to the u.s. in 1978 when protesters in san francisco organized by "women against violence in pornography and media" marched through the red-light district in protest of rape and pornography, which they identified with the sexualized subordination of women.
the marches are often deliberately women-only in order to symbolize women's individual walk through darkness and to demonstrate that women united can resist fear and violence.

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