Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008 Take Back the Night Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 16, 2008
Female Boxer to Speak at Guelph Take Back the Night Rally

On Thursday, September 18th at 6 pm, Guelph residents will gather at Marianne’s Park to take part in a rally and march to “say NO!” to sexualized violence against women and children. The event will open with a drumming circle by the Guelph Women’s Drum followed by a musical performance by folk singer Juanita Wilkins. The rally will also feature Jen Plyler a boxer from Toronto’s Shape Your Life program (which ran this year from the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Gym). Shape Your Life is an initiative that helps female and trans survivors of violence empower themselves and gain self-esteem through the sport of boxing.

The Take Back the Night location also has a deep significance to the Guelph community. The Take Back the Night is held at Marianne’s Park. The City of Guelph dedicated the park to Marianne Goulden in 1993, after she was stabbed by Timothy Weldon, her common-law partner, in front of her teenage daughter. This month, Weldon requested to be released from the psychiatric facility where he is being held. An Ontario Review Board rejected the request on September 9th. Marianne Goulden was one of the first women to stay at the Women in Crisis shelter. She later became an employee of the shelter and women staying there soon began saying they were staying at “Marianne’s Place”, a name that has stayed to this day.

In 2007, a record 1053 domestic violence incidents were reported to Guelph Police—an average of 2.8 incidents per day. Reports of sexual assault, child pornography possession by Guelph and area residents, and other related crimes have appeared frequently in Guelph newspapers over the past year. In 2007, Guelph Police received 60 sexual assault complaints, an average of one sexual assault complaint per week. However, the vast majority of sexual assaults will never be reported to the police, and most survivors are left silenced.

“Take Back the Night is the one night of the year where women, transwomen and children can walk through the streets of Guelph unaccompanied,” explained Zhaleh Afshar, Public Educator, Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis. “Most survivors of violence have been abused by people they know, with this march we demand safety in our homes and on our streets. Unfortunately, women and children are still not safe in our community”.

The Take Back the Night rally will feature activities for children, crafts, and face painting. Everyone is welcome to come to the rally from 6 to 7:30 pm. Women, transwomen and children are invited to participate in the march that will leave Marianne’s Park at 7:30 pm.
Take Back the Night is coordinated by Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis. For more information, please visit the Take Back the Night Guelph Blog at takebackthenightguelph.blogspot.com

Media Contact:
Zhaleh Afshar
Public Educator, Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis
519 836 1110 ext. 234 (work)
Website: takebackthenightguelph.blogspot.com