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article imageSurvivors of sexual abuse 'take back the night' in Toronto Special

By Andrew Moran     Oct 22, 2010 in World
Toronto - At the Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto, hundreds of people took part in the 30th annual Take Back the Night. The event sheds light on the important issue of sexual violence against women and children.
According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, there are numerous disturbing facts relating to female and child physical and sexual abuse:
Statistics show that 51 percent of women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual abuse before the age of 16. One Canadian woman or child is a victim of sexual assault every minute of every day. Less than 10 percent of sexual assault victims report these crimes to their local police department. Between April 2003 and March 2004, 58,486 women and 36,840 children sought shelter in one of 473 shelters across Canada.
On Friday, the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (TRCC) and Multicultural Women Against Rape (MWAR) hosted the 30th annual Take Back the Night at the Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of the city. The annual event brings exposure to sexual violence against women and children.
This year’s theme is: “30 years of Struggle, Resistance, Liberation.” The theme, according to the event’s website, is to highlight the victim’s experience of “survivorship.”
However, organizers of the event are saddened that the yearly occasion still continues and that there isn’t an end to the tragic cases of rape and sexual violence:
“Sadly, we have been marching and protesting for 30 years. And although violence against women has been brought into mainstream awareness, it still persists in the lives of women, trans people and children every day,” said the TRCC press release.
The 7-hour event involved a community fair where representatives of organizations affiliated with helping women and children presented information and brochures to those interested in obtaining it.
Parkdale Anti-Violence Education Working Group – an organization that raises awareness and brings information to female victims of sexual violence – presented a town cry where various members of the community delivered speeches highlighting the importance of understanding and exposing the cruel sexual crimes.
Furthermore, the annual event held a 90-minute march that started and ended at the Square. Only women and children were allowed to participate in the march. Music was provided by DJ Jola.
“Forms of institutional violence like police not believing women, the system of evidence collection in sexual assault cases, raids in our shelters for non-status women, all maintain a culture of violence,” said Counselor and Activist at the TCRR/MWAR, Deb Singh. “We need to see that things haven’t got better, more women are being sexually assaulted and are being silenced every day.”
Friday’s event, however, wasn’t just for women who have experienced forms of sexual abuse. Organizers also demanded rights for Aboriginal people, an increase of 40 percent in social assistance for immigrants, a raise in the minimum wage and proper child care and health care.
“We, as survivors, demand lives free of sexual violence, murder, living in poverty, police injustice and any violence that is directed towards women and children.”
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