Friday, October 5, 2012

Taking Back The Night

On Saturday September 29, about 250 women, children and trans* folks (along with a handful of men, allowed to walk only along the sidelines) gathered to Take Back The Night and march down King St to call attention to and call for action against violence aimed at these groups.

There's something about being part of a group of empowered women. We yell louder than we would if we were alone, we feel stronger just by being part of the sisterhood. Although I have very few female friends, it's something that I really enjoy and it makes me wonder each and every time why I don't try to curate more female friendships.

Something sat oddly with me this year, however. Me, being a straight female with children, felt left out. Remember this song?

I felt like the boot. Part of the reason was because the crowd was strongly LGTBQ-identifying, which, as much as I support them, I don't identify with; the other part because I was missing something... my partner.

I don't believe that public awareness or political events should be exclusive of any group. A men's bible study, sure. A women's book club, sure. But if there's a group marching to raise awareness of aboriginal rights, I feel I should be allowed to join to support my fellow citizens, even though I'm not aboriginal. Same here, if my husband wants to join me in a march that's protesting violence against women as a man who would never do such a thing, he should have the right.

Sadly, we as women, cannot change the way we are treated by men or even by other women. What we can do is educate ourselves and other women and provide a resting place, a shoulder and love to those who are fleeing abuse or have been abused.

We cannot change their behaviour. We can only change our own.

So why not let men, smart, respectable, loving men, join us in our march? Or even better, let our men march in protest of violence, showing the world that they would never hurt a woman, while WE march beside them showing our support?

There were a number of women marching with their children, both male and female. As a mother to 2 young boys, I could not, in good conscience, have them march with me knowing that eventually they'll have to stop marching because they've become too old and are therefore, now the men who we are excluding from our demonstration.

I did pass off some of the questions I had to Ethan Jackson, one of the planning committee members of Take Back The Night Waterloo Region but did not receive a response.

Exclusion aside, the march was a great success, with people joining in along the march route and more joining at the rally at Kitchener City Hall. We were treated to some kick-ass vegan chili (never thought I'd say that but seriously, if anyone wants to share the recipe I'd be grateful), information from community groups and poetry by KW's first slam poetry team, The Flying V's. I met some great women and had sighting of both Catherine Fife, newly elected MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo and Sara Casselman, the Operations Director of SASC.

A great event and truly, a cause worth fighting for. Let's all work toward a world where no one has to be scared, whether they are man, woman, child or trans*.  

No comments:

Post a Comment