Take Back the Night takes to the street

People gathered for Take Back the Night Winnipeg 2014./PHOTO SUPPLIED BY MANDY FRASER

People gathered for Take Back the Night Winnipeg 2014./PHOTO SUPPLIED BY MANDY FRASER

Take Back the Night Winnipeg (TBTN) has worked for more than 35 years to end gendered violence. The Winnipeg chapter also works to empower women, girls and non-binary folks, said organizer and Klinic Community Health counsellor, Mandy Fraser.

“People are out and taking up space, especially, women and girls and trans people too,” said Fraser. “People gather who don’t typically feel safe out in the street and in public and in the dark.”

TBTN is an international movement, started in the 70s, to raise awareness of street harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence. The protests originally started in Europe and the United States. Canada joined in the late 70s.

TBTN Winnipeg is an inclusive event and all people are welcome said Fraser.

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“In the past it’s been a women’s only space in Winnipeg and in the past few years we’ve been saying all genders are welcome and recognizing that there’s more than two genders and that people can be non-binary.”

Fraser hopes that more men will join TBTN to show their support, but there are several things they should keep in mind, she said.

“I personally think that we need men to be out showing their solidarity and support,” said Fraser.

“But that it’s also important that men be mindful that a lot of women have been victimized by men,” Fraser continued. “For sexual assault, perpetrators are 97 per cent men even when there are male victims. For guys going out they’re very welcome to come and we encourage them to come, but that they be mindful of the space they’re taking up.”

This year, TBTN will honour the work people and groups do to end violence all year round, she said.

“We thought it was important to celebrate and honour the work community groups, individuals and agencies are doing to end gendered violence and violence in general,” said Fraser. “There’s a lot of work being done in Winnipeg and when we join together as communities we are stronger and more informed of all the resources available.

While Red River College’s Student Association doesn’t have any plans to participate in TBTN, they are working on research to help them build campaigns and events to address gendered violence on campus, said SA President Benjamin McDonald.

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“The idea overall is to create some of our own events and campaigns throughout the year based on the survey information we gather,” he said.

TBTN Winnipeg will be held on Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Magnus Eliason Recreational Centre (MERC). There will be a blessing from RRC’s Elder, Mae Louise Campbell, followed by speakers Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie and Jarita Greyeyes. The march begins at 7 p.m. and will wrap up back at MERC with refreshments and entertainment.