Like so many events in the last two years, the 2021 commemoration of Take Back the Night in Guelph and area will be taking place as a virtual affair. In a press release from Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, it was announced that the 34th annual ceremony to help raise awareness about, and to challenge sexual and gender-based violence will be available as your nearest device.
The actual Take Back the Night event will take place on Facebook Live on Thursday September 16 at 6:30 pm, but along with the virtual ceremony, there will also be an interactive Take Back the Trail signage campaign at select sites in Guelph and Wellington County for 10 days from September 7-17.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many survivors have faced increased isolation and a lack of opportunities to connect with supportive individuals and services,” said WIC Public Educator Jensen Williams in a statement. “It is our hope through our Take Back the Night event and the Take Back the Trail campaign we can show that while we may be apart, we are certainly not alone.”
The locations for the sign campaign are:
- James St. Trail near Marianne’s Park in Guelph
- Elora Cataract Trailway near the Gartshore St. entrance in Fergus
- Bissell Park in Elora
- Drayton Walking Trail in Mapleton
- Wallace Cummings Park in Alma
- Lion’s Heritage Park in Palmerston
- Tannery Park in Harriston
- Murphy Park in Mount Forest
- Arthur Community Park Trail in North Wellington
Take Back the Night events started in the 1970s, the most well-known of which was a march in October 1975 in Philadelphia to honour Susan Speeth, a microbiologist who was stabbed to death while walking home alone. The marches and events have grown in the last 40 years as a chance for women, and later men, everywhere to speak out against gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, human trafficking and misogyny, as well as homophobia and transphobia.
According to WIC: “Take Back the Trail recognizes that many women and gender-diverse individuals don’t feel safe walking alone and provides an opportunity for community members to learn more about and have conversations about the local and global realities of gender-based violence.”
Earlier this year, the University of Guelph’s Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) released their third annual report confirming that a woman or girl is killed in Canada every two-and-a-half days, and that 75 per cent of the time, when they find the perpetrator, it’s a male that the victim is related to, or intimately involved with.
Findings from the Justice Institute of British Columbia say that one out of every 17 Canadian women are raped at some point in their lives, and that a sexual assault happens every 17 minutes in Canada. Girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are the most likely victims, 80 per cent of assaults happen in the victims home, and 70 per cent of all rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
You can get updates about Take Back the Night by following their event page on Facebook here.
Photo Courtesy of Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis.