Stopping sexual violence

Take Back the Night returns to Winnipeg streets Oct. 7

Participants show off the signs they made for the Take Back the Night march.

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Having a downtown campus means University of Winnipeg students can’t shy away from the harsh realities of living in and around the city’s core. One such reality is sexual violence. 

On Oct. 7, Winnipeggers will march for a 36th time as part of a movement seeking to end sexual violence in all forms. 

“It’s a very important message that they’re sending out to Winnipeg,” Bella Jakubec, a first-year U of W student, says. 

As an activist and a fan of the downtown area, Jakubec says she doesn’t always feel safe downtown, but she feels events like Take Back the Night can help create a safer city. 

The Take Back the Night movement aims to empathize with survivors of sexual violence whose voices are often met with accusations and dismissal. The walk also addresses other realities far too many people face, like street harassment and intimate partner violence. 

Take Back the Night started in the 1970s and had its first Winnipeg event in 1979. 

Jakubec is hoping to attend Take Back the Night for the first time this year and connect with new people who are interested in similar activism work. She encourages everyone to attend to “be aware and help Winnipeg become a wonderful place.” 

“We are stronger and more informed if we all come together,” Marieke Gruwel says. Gruwel is the coordinator of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association Women-Trans Spectrum Centre and one of the organizers of Take Back the Night Winnipeg. 

Gruwel says she feels there is lots of great activist work taking place on the U of W campus and Take Back the Night is an excellent way to connect with the larger community of activists in the city. 

The annual walk is a manifestation of the work being done in the city by community organizations and individuals to create awareness and end oppression based on sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability and class. 

The theme for the Winnipeg walk this year is “Communities Unite.” It’s an especially apt theme for U of W students and other downtown commuters who might not live in the core areas but can still take the message of awareness and solidarity back to their homes in and outside Winnipeg. 

The local march begins and ends at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre in the West End. 

It starts with a rally including speakers, drumming and smudging, and then ends with refreshments and entertainment. The event is family friendly and people from all walks of life, genders and

Published in Volume 70, Number 4 of The Uniter (October 1, 2015)

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