Take Back The Night

14 09 2010

A woman walks alone down a dark, deserted street. With every shadow she sees, and every sound she hears, her pounding heart flutters and skips a beat. She hurries her pace as she sees her destination become closer. She is almost there. She reaches the front door, goes inside, collects herself, and moves on forgetting, at least for tonight, the gripping fear that momentarily enveloped her life.

This scene, quoted from the Take Back The Night foundation’s web site, might have unfolded in any city. The fear associated with walking at night, for many women, is the reason Take Back The Night events happen all over the world. What started as a candlelit march in Philadelphia in 1975 has become a symbolic show of unity and purpose held annually in cities everywhere (Canada’s first was in Vancouver, 1978). Marches  take place in September in most Canadian cities. In Hamilton, this year’s march will be on Thursday, September 16th – City Hall, 6:30 pm gathering, 7:30 pm rally, 8:00 pm march.

 Women from New York to India are letting their voices shatter the silence, but there is much to be accomplished in the fight to end sexual violence. Crimes of this nature continue to appear in the news in epidemic proportions. Our movies, our music, and daily news describe another killing, shooting; more abuse, violence and rape. As the history of Take Back the Night continues to be written, its mission to end sexual violence for all remains a beacon of hope for the millions affected by crimes of violence. We have made great strides, but our march is far from over. [Take Back The Night foundation web site]

In keeping with the symbolic gesture of women “taking back the night”, organizers of Hamilton’s march (like the majority) do not open the event to male participants. A separate gathering, with speaker and discussion, is hosted so that men may be allies in the cause and show their support without actually marching (6:30 pm, Skydragon, 75 King William St.).

For more information about the Hamilton event, visit the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area) web site: www.sacha.ca. Information about the history of these events and their purpose around the world can be found on the TBTN foundation web site: www.takebackthenight.org.

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