Take Back the Night – Washington Park – April 18th

Written by on April 20, 2024

Take Back the Night, Washington Park, Albany, NY  April 18, 2024 – by Stephanie J Bartik –  NY Rockstar Photographer

As I stepped into Washington Park on a gloomy, cold, rainy night, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of emotions coursing through me. This wasn’t just any ordinary evening stroll through the park; it was the annual Take Back The Night event, a powerful testament to solidarity in the face of sexual violence. Despite the weather, there was a sense of resilience in the air, as if the very raindrops were echoing their determination to stand up and speak out.

Take Back The Night, rooted in the brave activism of the 1970s, has grown into a global movement spanning continents and communities. From its humble beginnings on college campuses to the bustling streets of major cities, the message remains the same: sexual violence must end, and survivors deserve support and justice. As I reflected on the history of this movement, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for those who paved the way for events like this to exist.

Hosted by the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center, the Take Back The Night rally in Washington Park was a beacon of hope for survivors and allies alike. Despite the somber backdrop of the night, there was a palpable energy of solidarity and empowerment. JoLynn Backes, the coordinator of community engagement, captured the essence of the event perfectly: “It’s really empowering to hear everyone share their stories and to be in this amazing community with people who truly care and want to end sexual violence.”

The evening kicked off with a pre-rally, providing attendees with valuable resources and information from various county organizations. As the night progressed, the lakehouse came alive with live performances, powerful speeches from county executives, and, most importantly, the courageous testimonies of survivors. Each story shared was a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, a reminder that healing and hope are possible even in the darkest of times.

Walking alongside the Hellions of Troy roller derby team and the Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center, the attendees felt a sense of unity that transcended words. Together, they marched around the park, reclaiming the space and sending a clear message to the world: we will not be silent, we will not be afraid, and we will not stop fighting until sexual violence is eradicated.

As the night drew to a close, they gathered for a candlelight vigil. In that moment of quiet reflection, surrounded by flickering candlelight and the gentle hum of the meditation, a profound sense of peace washed over me. It was a reminder that, despite the darkness we may face, there is always light to be found in community, compassion, and collective action.

Leaving Washington Park that night, I couldn’t shake the feeling of gratitude and hope that filled my heart. The rain had stopped, and in its place, the first signs of spring were beginning to emerge. It was a fitting metaphor for the journey of healing and renewal that so many survivors undertake. As we continue to march forward, let us never forget the power of solidarity, the resilience of the human spirit, and the unwavering belief that a brighter future is possible for all.

If you have experienced sexual abuse, and yes, that does mean more than rape, please reach out.  There are people who care, people to help you Take Back your life. You deserve to not live in the shadow of an abuser.  Bereak that cage they put you in.
Here are some resources:

Albany County Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center

Crime Victims Unit

In Our Own Voices, Inc

New York State Office of Victim Services

These are just a few of the many resources at your disposal.

If you don’t know where to begin contact https://takebackthenight.org/
You are not alone.


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