Take Back the Night: Shine a light on sexual violence on campus and in the community

ANTIGONISH: A campus/community coalition is organizing a rally and march tomorrow for Take Back the Night. 

This is an annual event to raise awareness about gender-based and sexual violence and to support victim/survivors impacted within the community.  

This year’s event will be held on the StFX University campus. A poster making session hosted by the Women and Gender Studies Society will take place at 5 p.m. in the third floor lounge in the Bloomfield Centre. At 7 p.m., the rally will get underway at the StFX Football Field. Local service providers will be on hand to share information about supports and services available to survivors. Following the rally there will be a short march through the StFX campus. 

Participants are asked to bring a phone or a flashlight, to “shine a light on sexual violence.” This is a rain or shine event so please come dressed for the weather.  In light of Covid-19, participants are also asked to wear a mask and to practice social distancing during the event. Anyone feeling unwell is asked to stay home. 

In the context of Covid-19, it is more important than ever to be raising awareness about gender-based and sexual violence and the supports available. During the pandemic in Canada, it’s estimated that calls to domestic violence crisis lines increased somewhere around 20-30 per cent, and up to 400 per cent in some areas. In other regions, things were eerily quiet. Those working with survivors knew that this meant not that violence wasn’t happening, but that those experiencing it weren’t able to reach out for help.

UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, has dubbed this increase in gender-based violence “the shadow pandemic.”

“We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically increased some of the vulnerabilities and risk factors for violence, and we felt that it was critically important to let survivors know that you are not alone, and that there are still supports and services available to you, even in the midst of this pandemic,”   Wyanne Sandler, ED at the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association says.

This event is being organized and co-hosted by the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association, the StFX Student Union, and Visible@X.