Every year, women from around the world gather at night to call out for action for safer communities and to end violence against women.
There are different stories of where this movement started. Some say it was in San Francisco in 1970, others say it was in England or Canada or many other places. No matter where it started, it is important know it is a worldwide movement of women and men who are fighting to end violence against women. In Canada, the event often occurs on the third Friday of September, but it also takes place during annual awareness campaigns such as May’s month for prevention and action against sexual assault.
Since the 1970s, Take Back the Night events have been held by college and university women’s centres, YWCAs, rape crisis centres, community centres, high school student groups, women’s shelters and other organizations dedicated to helping women achieve safety and empowerment.
Today, these events highlight the problem of violence against women as well as the broader issues of sexual violence: sexual assault, rape, dating violence, sexual abuse, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, child abuse, internet harassment and other unhealthy relationships. Men are also lending their voices and standing as survivors at most events. All events strive to bring awareness to the problem of sexual violence and support those who have been victimized.
The events are often women-only, to demonstrate that women united are stronger and can make change, and also to show that women must be able to walk the streets safely, even when they are not in the company of men.
However, every single person is needed to stop violence; so many organizations try to find ways to include men, while maintaining the symbolism of women’s strength. In Whitehorse, it is a women-only march, but men are welcome to attend the Celebrate the Night Concert that will take place at the Old Fire Hall after the march.
If you think you are not affected by this event, remember the disappearances, murders and the latest assault on a teenager on Strickland Street. Sadly, the Yukon has one of the higher rates of conjugal violence and sexual assault. We all need to take action with our friends, family and co-workers to end the violence.
Join us and Take Back the Night at the march (women only) on Friday, September 18th at 7:30 p.m. Ã the concert (men are welcome) will follow at 8:30 p.m.
Come and call out to the community to face and confront violence, to stop closing their eyes when they know a neighbour, a friend or family is a victim of violence.
Together, united, we can make a difference. As Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
For more information visit: www.Takebackthenight.org
Ketsia Houde, co-ordinator