Welcome to Part 2 of our July 2022 Inspirational Interview with Katie Koestner, founder and executive director of the Take Back the Night Foundation in the US.
Ms. Koestner is an internationally recognised author, activist, and educator who has lectured at over 5000 schools and universities around the world on the topics of technology, safety, and healthy relationships. The Take Back the Night Foundation, which she founded, is an international organisation working to end sexual violence, support survivors, and raise awareness.
In this part of the interview, Ms. Koestner talks about the impact of her organisation, its future plans, and the role men and boys should play in bringing about an end to violence against women.
Part 1 of this interview was published on 31 July, 2022.
Photos courtesy of the Take Back the Night Foundation.
6. Since 2001, what sort of impact has TBTNF had on the USA’s approach and attitudes towards sexual violence against women and rape culture?
Take Back The Night has historically not assessed or ever tried to quantify our success. We simply support each event and the organisers in addressing sexual violence in ways that best match the needs of their community. This may include protesting how their college administrators have handled reports of sexual violence, a lack female police officers, a lack of prosecution of sexual violence cases, etc. We use our platform of community activism to draw public attention to problems and injustice.
7.How do you think men and boys can help to end violence against women?
Men and boys can inform themselves about sexual violence. They can speak up and stand up when they witness sexual harassment and sexual violence. They can choose to intervene and directly confront perpetrators of sexual violence. They can support the work being done to prevent sexual violence. They can work within their schools, institutions, companies, communities, and faith groups to ensure sexual violence prevention and awareness programs exist within each. They can support laws and policies prohibiting sexual violence.
8.Tell us about TBTNF’s plans for the future. What campaigns, programmes, or projects do you have coming up in the next 5 years?
We are building out chapters of Take Back The Night at high schools, colleges, and in communities to better connect our supporters and survivors. We have developed a communal virtual communication platform to enable the members of the chapters to brainstorm ideas, share resources, and otherwise support each other. Our primary goal in the next 5 years is to grow these chapters and support them in their efforts and events.
9.How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support the efforts of TBTNF to stop violence against women?
10.In your considered opinion, how can we end violence against women for good?
In my opinion, there will always be some violence committed by humans. I don’t think we will ever have a world without violence—whether that be physical, emotional, sexual, etc. However, we can continue to work toward creating a world that recognises and collectively embraces a definition of what sexual violence is. We can work toward creating a world where more people speak up and stand up with intervention strategies when they witness sexual violence. We can work toward creating laws, policies, procedures, and protocols that foster equality and safety for all people. We can work to ensure women have access to education and choice in whether to have children and get married. These are ways we work toward reducing sexual violence.