Members of the community are invited to gather in Sarnia’s downtown for the 24th annual Take Back the Night event, to be held Thursday, Sept. 21.
The event, hosted by the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre, Sarnia-Lambton, is held in communities across Canada to raise awareness and stop the tide of violence against women and children.
“This year, we will have some male allies who will be speaking,” said Michelle Batty, executive director at the SASC and the Women’s Interval Home. “I think, for so many years, people saw it as a women’s issue. As an organization, we have always included everyone – men and women – to participate because we’ve always seen it as everyone’s issue.”
According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. The organization noted that in 2008, women were ten times more likely than men to be the victim of a police-reported sexual assault.
“It’s hard to know the real numbers because so many people don’t report it,” said Batty, pointing to recent headlines about high numbers of ‘unfounded’ sexual assault reports across Canada.
“It doesn’t mean there wasn’t sexual assault. It just means there may not have been enough evidence for it to proceed through to the criminal justice system.”
The event will take place at the corner of Christina and Lochiel Streets, known as the downtown Peace Court, where presentations will be followed by a brief march.
All are welcome.
“If we’re going to make a difference, everyone needs to participate and do their part to end violence against women and children,” said Batty. “It’s an opportunity to show your support and learn some new information.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Take Back the Night March
WHEN: Sept. 21, beginning at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Christina and Lochiel Streets, downtown Sarnia
DETAILS: For more information, visit www.sexualassaultsarnial.ca