Take Back the Night was back in London and hundreds came together to rally and march to protest gender-based violence. This event is part of an internationally held march to bring attention to the violence faced by women, girls and gender minorities.
The event started with a rally in Victoria Park that was full of singing, chanting and passionate speeches aimed at empowering women and survivors.
Many came together to talk about their own experiences or to support their loved ones or loved ones that they may have lost as a result of gender-based violence.
— Jess Buckmaster (@JessXFMNews) September 21, 2018
One woman in attendance was wearing a shirt that read, “Nobody asks what my rapist was wearing.” She is a survivor of rape and explained that she marches every year for all the youth and other women that have been through something similar.
“I think it helps women to know that they’re not alone and that they have a voice.”
She said that she’s happy that there are a lot of agencies in London aimed at supporting survivors of sexual violence.
Before the march women and children came together to write empowering signs and chalk the sidewalk with names of loved ones and inspirational quotes.
Jordan Simmons attended the rally and march for the first time and says that the event made her feel the best she has felt since her sexual assault 10 years ago.
“Just because you’re a survivor of assault doesn’t mean that you’re alone. We’re all here to support you and help you get through this and overcome it and show other people that just because this happened to you doesn’t mean that you’re weak. It means that you’re strong.”
— Jess Buckmaster (@JessXFMNews) September 20, 2018
The marched weaved through downtown London, while women and children chanted and shouted. Chants included: “Yes means yes and no means no. Whatever I wear, wherever I go!” and “No more silence, no more violence!”
While the event was aimed at women’s rights and safety, many speeches stressed the need for an intersectional approach when fighting these issues.
Men lined the streets cheering in support and some held a sign reading, “Men against violence towards women.” One said that he was there to support because, “…Men are the problem, and they have to be part of the solution.”
Shelley Yeo is a member of the Women’s Events Committee and she took a leading role in planning the event.
“It makes me feel good that we continue to do it, except the problem is that the issues are continuing and it’s unfortunate that we have to continue to do this,” said Yeo, as she reflected on the fact that this is the 40thannual Take Back the Night in London.
While it was a bittersweet event, women in attendance felt extremely empowered and strong and many cars and pedestrians stopped to clap or honk their horn to show their support.