Volume 92, Issue 15

Tuesday, September 29, 1998



Reclaiming a feeling of personal safety

Sam Pane/Gazette
IN THE DARKNESS WE WILL BE HEARD. Participants of London's 15th annual Take Back the Night march gathered in Victoria Park to voice concerns about violence against women.

By Ciara Rickard
Gazette Staff

For the 20th time in as many years, women all over North America joined forces and marched for a single cause – women.

Friday night was London's 15th Take Back the Night march. The theme was "Sharing the Vision," that vision being a world that is safe for women.

About 600 candle-bearing women marched from Doige Park to Victoria Park, chanting and blowing whistles all the way.

"Every woman in our society is afraid – afraid to walk alone at night or go into parking garages alone or through a city park," said Katie Fox, a student at the faculty of education at Western and a speaker at Take Back the Night.

"Every woman takes precautions to protect herself every day of her life – it's become habit we don't question, like brushing your teeth, it's just part of a routine. But it's not part of men's routines," she added.

At Victoria Park, a vigil was held in honour of women who had been victims of violence at the hands of men. A minute of silence was observed and the names of many of these women were called out.

Various speakers took part, including high school student Jennifer Fisher, who impressed the crowd with her eloquent and earnest speech.

"When I walk home from school alone, I have my house key wedged between my knuckles in case I have to protect myself," Fisher said.

The only thing missing from the march, according to some of the organizers and shouts from the crowd, was London Mayor Diane Haskett. It's important there be politicians at these events, said Fox, especially one that's so relevant to at least 50 per cent of the population.

"I'm really pleased with the way it went," said Barbara Jones Warrick of Women for Action, Accountability and Against Violence Everywhere, organizers of the event. "It was really exciting to see such a range of speakers, especially the younger women – it gives me hope and sometimes in this line of work, that's hard to find."

To Contact The News Department: gazette.news@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998