Skip to main content

Take Back the Night march marks 40th anniversary in Waterloo Region

Take Back the Night commemorated its 40th year in the region with a march in downtown Kitchener on Thursday.

The community comes together annually for the event to show their support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

The march kicked off at Gaukel Block at 6 p.m., and was hosted by the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region.

They say the need for local supports continues to grow.

"Currently we have about a 300 person waitlist," said Renu Dhaliwal, a sexual violence prevention educator for the centre. "So that's folks that are just waiting to get services, they're not currently being helped at any capacity, which is really tough because our funding hasn't increased."

"It's not something small," said Anna Najcler, a survivor and office adminstrator for the centre. "It happens every day and it happens all over the world and we need to call attention to it and make it known.

"We are seeing a more diverse group of people we are representing and we're trying really hard to make sure we can represent all of the marginalized and oppressed groups in our community and really make it intersectional in the work that we do."

A sign at the 2023 Take Back the Night event. (CTV News/Hannah Schmidt)Speeches, performances, activities and refreshments were provided, before the roughly 100 participants marched to Carl Zehr Square.

"It's a chance for the community to come together and really march and have our voices heard and our presence felt when talking about gender based violence," said Dhaliwal.

Take Back the Night is part of a global movement with roots in 1970s England, when some restrictions were placed on women and children to counter sexual assaults.

The centre says it was a period of time that shares some parallels with the pandemic.

"I think a lot of folks suffered during those times, felt super isolated, the rates of sexual violence and gender-based violence definitely increased, people's needs increased," Dhaliwal said.

Those in attendance said while women, children and transgender people are most likely to experience sexual and gender-based violence, it effects everyone in the community.

“Everything that’s happened with COVID in the past few years. It’s really nice to be able to get communities together again,” said Dhaliwal. “The rates of sexual violence and gender-based violence definitely increased. People’s needs increased. So I think it’s nice to finally be able to get together and address that stuff." Top Stories

Stay Connected