Vendetta against violence

One in two women will experience some form of sexual violence in her life, Sexual Assault Centre Kingston community education co-ordinator says

More than 80 women took to Kingston’s streets last night for the 31st annual Take Back the Night event commemorating the fight to end violence against women and children.
More than 80 women took to Kingston’s streets last night for the 31st annual Take Back the Night event commemorating the fight to end violence against women and children.
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“Tonight is the night we demand to be free from violence.”

Thirty-one years after the first Take Back the Night march, the annual event has grown into an international movement. Kingston’s women and children came together Thursday night at Confederation Basin to protest against domestic violence. Marchers gathered for speeches, a poetry reading and a performance by Three Sisters Drumming, an Aboriginal drum group.

The march progressed west along Queen St. and continued east along Princess St.

Men were invited to show their support by marching along the sidewalks.

Among those marching was Danielle Dies. Dies, who’s studying to be a social service worker at St. Lawrence College and doing her placement at Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK), said she thinks there’s still a lot of work to be done before violence against women and children is eliminated.

“I think that most women get raped at night,” Dies said. “Women shouldn’t be afraid to walk at night.”

Dies said she hopes the march brings new attention to the feminist cause.

“People will be able to connect with each other.”

Kim Purton, community education co-ordinator for SACK and ArtSci ’03 organized Kingston’s Take Back the Night rally for the first time this year. Annual Take Back the Night marches have been held internationally since 1978 to protest and publicize violence against women.

After 31 years, the fact that Take Back the Night is still taking place is both positive and negative, Purton said.

“The fact that we still have to have a Take Back the Night is probably not a good thing,” she said, adding that she thinks it’s good people still recognize sexual violence against women as a problem.

“You just have to look to page six to find a woman who was killed by her husband. … It’s not as sensational,” she said.

Purton said domestic violence is a problem across the board.

“Unfortunately, killing of women and children happens in every culture,” she said.

Statistics show that one in two women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lives, Purton said.

Women between the ages of 14 and 24 are four times more likely to experience sexual violence, she added.

Purton said many Queen’s students experience sexual violence, especially during frosh week and Homecoming weekend in the fall.

“I’d say a big factor is probably alcohol,” she said. “Alcohol is, I guess, the leading drug, you could say, in terms of date rape.”

Purton said the stigma surrounding sexual violence prevents many people from discussing it.

“With the stats being as high as they are, there should be more people talking about it.”

The rally was limited to women and children, Purton said, to show it’s okay for them to go out alone.

“We’ve been taught from an early age not to go out at night. … We shouldn’t have to bear that responsibility upon ourselves.”

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