Give back the night

In most American cities women are not free to walk alone at night. Liberty to walk at night is an essential part of freedom, needed for self-knowledge and personal development. Women should be free to jog in remote places, to let their children play in parks or on our streets. To deny this is a crime against the human spirit that’s almost as bad as the physical threat itself.

Take Back the Night is a national movement which brings awareness about this problem. Women gather in cities across the United States to make speeches, protest, and march against sexism and violence. This is a natural and justified response to violence. But although it may focus attention on the problem, it still reproduces the adversarial, aggressive attitude.
Take Back the Night may be necessary at present, but women should not be forced to take this adversarial position. It’s not the duty of the abused to stop abuse, or the enslaved to fight for freedom. It’s we men who are responsible, and it’s we who must give – by mastering our own identity – in order to prevent women from having to take. Simply put, it is the difference between taking and giving.

We’d like to introduce another response, one founded on non-adversarial relationships: on actual concern for the well-being of each other. There are a number of step we can take to reduce aggressive narrow-mindedness. Give Back the Night is a forum to cultivate, support and publicize these steps.

What you can do?

Join us in introspection of the role we play, directly and indirectly, in violence against women.

1. Understand the roots of violence
Violence is not just overt, such as that committed by rapists, methamphetamine dealers, child molesters and spousal abusers. There are countless subtle ways – imagery, fantasy, flattery – violence is cultivated. Join us in a Topic to explore systemic violence, either privately or in a local group.

2. Take account of what you do at work
Is the organization for which you work contributing to a better world? Or is it narrowly serving its own interest for profit at the expense of people and the planet?

3. What do you do for fun?
Do you mindlessly consume culture products (movies, music, performances) that perpetuate stereotypes against women? Do you participate in sexually (divisive) activities, such as strip clubs, viewing pornography? What do you do for creativity in your life (creating a more beautiful world)?

4. How do you help others?

5. Who are you?
Become a person for whom sexual violence is impossible. This is not merely a matter of action. Our very identity has to be expanded and deepened, including our private thoughts and aspirations. Become a person who does not view women as objects. Transform taking into giving.

6. Support a movement that is building a culture of exquisite sensitivity: Give back the night.
Apply for a grant of $50 and more to publicize Give Back the Night around town and help start this movement.

What can you do? Begin by entering your thoughts or steps you are taking in the comments below.

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