Take Back the Night takes to tradition

By in Opinions

Take Back the Night 2018, presented by the Saskatoon Women’s Community Coalition in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union Women’s Centre, was a humble success — drawing active, conscious participants and providing space for positive advocacy.

Take Back the Night is a charitable non-profit organization with a mission to end sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence. The organization promotes awareness events and initiatives such as Saskatoon’s annual march, along with similar marches in cities across the globe.

The grassroots influences of the event are notable — it’s immersive in the face of apathy and comes at a time in our community, and in society, when solidarity and action seem to be the most pertinent responses to the issues at hand.

Two protestors hold up signs at this year’s Take Back the Night demonstration.

Take Back the Night is for everyone. There is something to be said for the empowering feeling of being part of a group of people pushing against the same injustices as you are. It can be felt in the immediate comfort that comes from walking alongside the same folks you see at coffee shops, the grocery store or just on Sunday nights.

You look at each other and march forward on that endorphin-charged walk up the bridge to remember that you’re not the only person in the world who feels the need to march. I’ve marched for three years now, and I still find it humbling.

Sexual assault reports to the Saskatoon Police Service have been increasing in recent years. In 2013, 275 individuals filed reports of sexual assault to Saskatoon police. By 2017, that number had increased to 359. As of May 2018, Saskatchewan has the second-highest per capita rate of self-reported sexual assault of all the provinces in Canada.

In 2015, Statistics Canada reported that Saskatchewan had the highest rate of police-reported family violence of all the provinces, averaging about 490 reports per 100,000 people — which is nearly double the Canadian average.

With statistics like these, there is no doubt concerning the importance of awareness events like Take Back the Night. This year, Sexual Assault Awareness Week  was held on campus from Sept. 10-14 — though events were pared-down from previous years’ schedules — and the week concluded with the community march.

Emily Migchels / Editor-in-Chief

Photo: Heywood Yu