London’s annual ‘Take Back the Night’ aims to make streets safe for everyone

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London’s annual Take Back the Night has come and gone, but for those in attendance, the fight to end gender-based violence is far from over.

Thursday night’s Take Back the Night event in Victoria Park is a part of an internationally held march and rally that brings attention to the violence faced by women, girls and gender minorities in their daily lives.

“Gender-based violence continues to happen, and we want to make sure these issues are addressed in our city and around the world,” said Shelley Yeo, a member of the Women’s Events Committee.

“In some respects, these types of violence are on the rise, but we’d like to make it known that there are supports available and a community here in London that supports survivors,” she said.

Yeo adds she’s no stranger to the type of violence that Take Back the Night aims to address.

“I’ve had many experiences in my life where I don’t feel safe, whether it’s walking down the streets or even in my home,” said Yeo.

“I think all of us here today feel the impact against women and gender-minorities and that’s why we fight it.”

While the event was generally to stand up for women’s rights, eventgoers stressed the need for an intersectional lense when discussing women’s issues.

“Indigenous women are going missing on a daily basis and there are high numbers of these women who have been murdered and are missing across Canada,” said Hallie Abram.

“We really need the government and police to take a look at that and hammer home this issue so we can get these women back to safety,” she said.

Abram says many of these women are going missing because they’re afraid to speak out against violence.

“I think you’re just starting to see women start to speak up now because groups are trying their best to bring these issues forward,” said Abram.

Abram adds she feels strong and empowered when she’s in the presence of other women.

“That’s why Take Back the Night is so important, because we [women] are powerful, and when we get together, we can love one another and honour each other in ways we deserve.”

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