Women take night back, men not invited
By Anton Vidgen
London's women are set to reclaim the streets tonight as part
of an effort to eliminate violence and affirm the independence
Take Back the Night, a march in honour of the women killed
in the Montreal Massacre, is a symbolic move to show women can
feel safe at night without a male escort, said Karla Baker,
coordinator of the Women's Issues Network, one of the groups
involved with the Women's Events Committee, the organizing body
of the march.
The hour-long march is for women and children only and men
will be asked to show their support for the march by lining
the sidewalks, Baker said, adding this was so women do not have
to feel dependent on their male escorts for safety.
"I don't think we are trying to perpetuate a stereotype,"
she said when asked if making the march women-only would stigmatize
females as defenseless. "The reality is many women don't
"I do agree with the division because it makes the statement
that women can be independent," said University Students'
Council VP-campus issues Adrienne Kennedy, adding if there were
no separation, it would create the notion that women are unable
to walk alone at night.
Kennedy said she was optimistic the march would shift some
attitudes towards female independence.
"If one night of the year women are made to feel comfortable
and safe, I say congratulations," said Monda Halpern, a
history professor at Western. "Women are made to feel like
visitors or foreigners on the street," she added.
Halpern said having a women-only march makes sense. "I
don't think there should be any shame," she said. "I
think the march would compromise itself if men were incorporated
in any other way."
Western's pre-rally for Take Back the Night starts on University
College Hill today at 4:45 p.m. WIN, the Women's Studies Student
Council and Queer Western Organization will speak to the crowd
before participants head to London's Peace Gardens. The main
march will start at 6:45 p.m.