by Bonnie Agnew - Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter
What do we want? Freedom! When Do We Want It? Now!
Last September, women in cities and towns across Canada responded to a call for feminist action to Take Back the Night. Women in some cities have been organizing Take Back the Night as a public protest against the continued danger we face from men, and as a way of experiencing for at least one night the freedom of women walking together free from male violence. In other centres, this was the first or second year women have marched together calling it Take Back the Night. These actions are organized by rape crisis centres, by transition houses, by women's centres, by women's groups and coalitions of women's groups representing women in all communities.
We are facing increasing pressure to abandon the strategy of mobilizing women as a way to affect social change. Police and city councils try to stop us from gathering to Take Back the Night. They tell us we can't march in large groups, or that we can't march on streets that have traffic, or that we can't march without a permit, or with a permit, or without including men, or without risking the licensing and funding of our women's shelters and centres. We are under pressure from the men in our lives to exempt them from responsibility for other men's violence: they want us to believe that men's violence against us is not about gender, power and inequality, and that it is not intended to prevent our freedom.
Take back the night events continue annually. See Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter website for more details.
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