Take Back the Night — Naomi’s style — Sept. 17

Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News file

WINCHESTER — Naomi’s Family Resource Centre (NFRC) will host a candlelight evening of music and speakers at its first ever Take Back the Night event.

As soon as they heard about the pandemic-related cancellation of large-scale marches — usually a featured Take Back the Night activity — NFRC staff began planning an alternative version for the North Dundas community.

Scheduled 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the 100 Club Park bandstand outside the Joel Steel Arena, the event “will be a candlelit night with music by various amazing local women performers such as headliner Mena Hardy, Marleen Fawcett and Suzanne Millaire and the Heartbeats,” said Amanda Million, acting shelter manager at NFRC. “We are also inviting a speaker on human trafficking.”

Although North Dundas has not had a Take Back the Night event organized by NFRC before, the organization does receive calls for help from trafficked persons and have aided women escaping such horrific conditions.

Statistics Canada data shows that 90 per cent of sex trafficking victims are females between the ages of 18 and 24 — and sometimes as young as 13.

”Think about it, almost two-thirds of police-reported human trafficking cases in Canada occur in Ontario. Canada was among the first countries to ratify the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children,” said Million. “We, as a nation, as a province, as a community need to recognize that anyone is at risk, so let’s educate ourselves and stand together on September 17th …”

Take Back the Night is the earliest worldwide movement to stand against sexual violence, especially violence against women.  Events began in the 1960’s in Belgium and England with protests about how women were not able to be safe walking down the street alone.  In 1975, a crowd in Philadelphia held a Take Back The Night event to protest the murder of a microbiologist walking near her home after work.  These early events have grown into hundreds of such observations in communities of all sizes and locations.

“And now we will have our first Take Back the Night event in Winchester!” exclaimed Million.

“COVID-19 isn’t stopping traffickers, so it is not stopping us!” said Deborah Thomson, Executive Director of NFRC.

Only 100 people can attend this outdoor event. Reserve a spot through Naomi’s Facebook page or call 343-585-2415 and speak with Amanda.

Naomi’s Family Resource Centre (NFRC) is a Registered Charitable Organization that provides a safe place for women and their children fleeing domestic violence,  a 24-hour hot line and numerous services to assist women in need to return to a safe and independent life.

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