Women and children will be marching through Fredericton’s streets at dark in the annual Take Back the Night event this Friday.
Take Back the Night is an international event that focuses on raising awareness about violence against women. Fredericton has held the event, which is hosted by the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, since the early 1980s.
“It’s an opportunity for the public to come together and to speak out against various forms of violence against women and to demand the right to live, work, enjoy life in safety without the fear of sexual assault or other forms of violence,” said Lorraine Whalley, executive director of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre.
“It’s a symbolic phrase; it’s not about trying to say that the night is when sexual assault or intimate partner violence or sexual harassment happen, but ‘Take Back the Night’ is a symbol for the secrecy, the hidden issue of violence against women and the fear that exists around this issue for women,” she said.
While men are asked not to join the march itself, they may participate in a discussion that is happening at the same time on the topic of how men can become engaged in ending violence against women.
The discussion will be facilitated by White Ribbon Campaign Fredericton, an organization of men and boys whose mission, according to the group’s Facebook page, is “engaging men to end men’s violence against women.”
“It’s not about not letting them march, we’re asking them to stay behind and to talk to other men about how they can be involved in the issue. And then we’re inviting women to participate in the march. It’s not about excluding,” Whalley said.
The theme of this year’s march is “Yes all women,” after the social media trend #yesallwomen that brought emphasis on the fact that violence against women doesn’t only affect the direct victims of violence.
“The fear of violence against women, the numbers of women who are impacted by this, the choices that we have to make in our daily life around our activities, all of these are impacted by the issue of violence against women in our society,” Whalley said.
Fredericton’s Take Back the Night event will occur on Friday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. Participants of both the march and the discussion are asked to meet at City Hall.