May 19th, 2024

Take Back the Night speaks out against fear

By Herald on October 23, 2021.

Participants make their way through the city’s downtown Friday night as they take part in the annual Take Back the Night march. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald

Despite the rain, a brave crowd gathered in front of City Hall on Friday for the annual Take Back the Night walk organized by the YWCA Lethbridge and District. 

Take Back the Night is an international event where women and those that support them walk in solidarity to take action against those that have experienced sexual violence. 

Tracy James, acting CEO of the YWCA and program manager of the Amethyst Program (Sexual Assault intervention advocacy program) told the gathered crowd that Take Back the Night events began in the 1960’s in Belgium and England, with protests about women not feeling safe walking down the street alone at night. In 1975, a crowd in Philadelphia held a Take Back the Night event to protest the murder of a microbiologist walking home after work. In the 70’s, San Francisco had a number of rallies in protest of “snuff” pornography and violence against women. And in the 1980’s Vancouver’s Rape Relief Crisis Centre declared that on the third Friday in September, women across Canada would march on the same night. 

The event dates have changed over the years, but women across the globe march for the right to safety annually.

Denille Tizzard, Program Manager for YWCA Harbour House Women’s Emergency Shelter, shared that from Apr. 1, 2020, to Mar. 31 2021, the YWCA Harbour House saw 238 women and 90 children access services because of domestic violence. This year from Apr. 1, 2021, to Oct 22,2021 they have seen 142 women and 52 children access their space in the domestic violence shelter. 

“We still have five months to go in this fiscal period. We are going to surpass numbers that we saw last year,” said Tizzard to the crowd. 

Tizzard continued by saying that because of space and funding, last year from Apr. 1, 2020, to Mar. 31, 2021, they turned away 757 women and 127 children from their domestic violence shelter. 330 women and 78 children of those totals were turned away due to capacity. 

This year alone, from Apr. 1 until today’s date (Oct. 22), we have turned away 574 women and 163 children. 211 women and 85 of these children were turned away due to capacity, added Tizzard. 

“From this numbers of admitted women from Apr. 1, 2020, to Mar. 31, 2021, we saw 172 women stating they have been sexually assaulted. This year alone from Apr. 1 until today’s date, we have seen 102 women report sexual assault that have come into our shelter,” said Tizzard to the crowd.

“Through the Amethyst program since it started in 2015, we have responded to 427 individuals that have been sexually assaulted,” said James to the crowd.  

She continues to state that over the years women have heard phrases like ‘you should not walk alone or don’t go out after dark.’ And therefore, the purpose of the walk was to honour their voices and speak out against fear and sexual violence.   

“We want to state our refusal to take responsibility for sexual harassment, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, incest and battering, and recognize that only the perpetrator of these crimes is to blame,” said James to the crowd. 

“We want to celebrate the steps we have taken to support each other in creating change and to continue that work. To experience the freedom of what it is like to walk at night and not be dependent on the protection of others,” added James. 

Before the walk took place, a moment of silence was held to remember those who have survived and those who have been taken as a result of sexual violence. 

Follow @APulidoHerald on Twitter

Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
pursuit diver

Harbour House and the YWCA has done great work over the years, with my Aunt even sitting on the board 60 years ago, but she would be rolling over in her grave in anguish watching all the drug dealers and drug use going on around the YWCA now! EMS is constantly responding to the area for drug overdoses and you never saw any young men hanging around the entrance, some known drug dealers, years ago, but they are there now. After witnessing this and seeing 3 deaths from overdoses, further research found that 2 of the old SCS employees work there now and have promoted their ‘harm reduction’ ideas there, a program that has proven to kill exponentially more than what they save.
I support the concept of the organization and applaud all the hard work they have done and their service to the community over the years, but they have been infiltrated by radicals that ignore community demands that harm reduction, which never has been able to put forth all 4 pillars that they promote in their spiel, is a complete failure and Lethbridge was loud and clear they do not want these sites here. Because of this I can no longer support the YWCA!
These organizations are forcing this failure of a program on us, a program the should be called increase the harm, because it doesn’t reduce anything, except taxpayers savings and donations to cancer research and other important programs, even suing the government to force it on us, with a complete disregard to the community concerns and for law!
Sad to see such a great organization not just slide, but delta-dive into the abyss!

Last edited 2 years ago by pursuit diver

And the “Victim” Merry-go-round loops again for another lap!