On Thursday night, students and Kingston residents gathered at Confederation Basin to march for Take Back the Night—an annual event protesting sexual and domestic violence.
On its 40th anniversary, Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SAC) chose the theme “reclaiming our bodies, our spaces, our voices” in an effort to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence.
Samantha Golladay, the Projects Coordinator for SAC, told The Journal about the steps they’ve taken to make the event more inclusive.
“Take Back the Night is to traditionally take back the night against violence for women and children,” Golladay said. “But we’ve opened up the event to male-identifying people as well as anyone who would like to come and take back their voice or their bodies against violence or discrimination that they face.”
This year the event was supported by the Vogue Charity Fashion Show, which raises funds every year for an organization of their choice.
Other organizations in attendance included Kingston Interval House, Consensual Humans at Queen’s University, and the Elementary Teachers Federation Ontario.
In an interview, Brea Hutchinson, the executive director of SAC Kingston, stressed the importance of Take Back the Night.
“Walking through the hub at 2 a.m. exposes someone to a lot more trans-violence, gender-based violence, and race-based violence, and so we’re taking a day to make our opposition to that heard,” Hutchinson said. “We’re taking up some space, we’re celebrating our movements, and we’re being heard and seen.”
“We have built so much over the last forty years and we have come so far in the last ten years,” she said. “It just makes me feel so inspired to see where we could be ten years from now.”
Barb Lotan—Queen’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator—also attended the event.
“We’ve been working a really long time to change attitudes about violence against women and sexual violence,” Lotan told The Journal. “This event is really important because it
reminds us all again that we still have work to do.”
The event also protested the Ford Government’s recent decision to revert the 2015 sexual education curriculum to the version implemented in 1998.
Attendees wrote post cards to Premier Doug Ford, and signed a petition called “We Have Your Back,” to reinstate the 2015 curriculum.
Molly Brenette, the status of women chair for the Elementary Teachers Federation Ontario Limestone Local, spoke at the event about the Ford Government’s reversion to the old sexual education curriculum.
“Lately, there’s been a shameful event in public education that astounds educators,” Brenette told the crowd. “I need to give voice to all of my students, regardless of gender and outside of a binary.”
“When we know better as a society, we should do better.”
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