Over 50 par­tic­i­pate in an­nual Take Back The Night event

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - News - BY TANYA HAWCO

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.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF TANYA HAWCO

The an­nual Take Back The Night march took place in Port aux Basques on Fri­day, Sept. 22.

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