Over 50 participate in annual Take Back The Night event
More than 50 people participate in the Take Back the Night event in Port Aux Basques on Friday, Sept. 22, organized by the Gateway Status of Women Council (GSWC).
The participants walked from the Gateway Women’s Centre to the fire hall, holding signs reading “We believe survivors” and “Consent is not the absence of a NO”.
Take Back the Night is an annual international protest that dates back over 40 years ago, with the first march held in the United States.
The local Council has held similar events since 2005 aiming to raise awareness about sexual violence.
Tanya Hawco is the Executive Director of the GSWC. Speaking to those in attendance, she stressed that sexual violence is a serious issue in this province.
“One in two women over the age of 15 in Newfoundland will experience sexual violence in their lifetime,” she said. “Overall, Newfoundland has the third highest rate of reported sexual assault in Canada based on our population, and only around 10 percent of people actually report to the police. That means that the other 90 percent often suffer in silence, and without justice.”
Carol Ingram, Chair of GSWC, reflected on the ways everyone can help create a healthy consent culture.
She stressed the need to teach children and youth about consent.
“Teach them it is important to ask for permission before touching another person or showing affection, and to respect boundaries if the person says no,” she said.
Candace Matthews, treasurer of GSWC, spoke about the need to challenge each other to do everything to be positive and active bystanders.
“When we know how to be positive bystanders, we are in a unique and powerful position to help stop abuse and protect those around us,” Mathews said.
Justice minister Andrew Parsons, who is MHA for Burgeo-La Poile, and Deputy Mayor Todd Strickland, Town of Channel-Port aux Basques, also participated in the event.
To conclude the night, Christine Seymour, Executive Assistant of the GSWC read a “Community Pledge Against Sexual Violence” and asked participants to sign their name to demonstrate their commitment to such pledges as supporting and believing survivors, being a positive and helpful bystander and standing up to rape culture.
The Gateway Women’s Centre provides confidential support to survivors of violence.
They can be reached at (709) 695-7505 or at 4 Anderson Lane, Channel-Port aux Basques.
The annual Take Back The Night march took place in Port aux Basques on Friday, Sept. 22.