AWA: My First Feminist Rally

This weeks AWA or 'Afternoons With Alumni' comes from past CC of HC Western Ontario, Alexie Evans. Take a read, and a look, at the brave stance many took recently in the streets of downtown London, ON. We are so honoured to showcase such a powerful cause. Here is 'Take Back The Night". - K.A 

"I never truly identified myself as a feminist until late in my undergraduate degree, when I took a feminist theory course and actually started to understand what feminism was -- no, feminists were not a group of man-hating, angry women with hairy armpits. I learned that feminism calls for the equality of all sexes and genders, and how I had been living my life thus far had basically been with a feminist stance. I admit, I am in no way a perfect feminist -- there is a lot for me to learn and grow on, something that I do every day as I meet more and more inspiring and intelligent women.

On Thursday, September 17th, I attended my first feminist rally, Take Back The Night.

Take Back the Night is an internationally held march and rally which intends to protest and demand action against sexual violence, and violence in all forms, against women. As women, we grow up being told that it is not safe for us to walk alone at night and that we must live in fear of potential male aggressors. TBTN is a movement that brings attention to the harassment women and girls experience in their daily lives, and strives for a day that we no longer must protest violence against women.

As a first-timer to Take Back The Night, and to a feminist rally in general, I was blown away by the amount of positive energy and unity amongst all us women. It was so incredibly liberating and empowering to be walking the streets with a huge group of strong women, all marching together towards a common goal. Even hours after the march was over, I was still amped up on an adrenaline rush. When women empower one another and support each other, that is truly an amazing thing.

Below find pictures of London’s Take Back The Night 2015, many thanks to the wonderful women who attended rally and chose to share their photos with HC!"

 

Photos by Alexie EvansAlthough I made my signs a little “playful” and I was in good spirits showing off it off to the camera, cat-calling is something that women experience every single day, and though it may seem arbitrary, is a form of sexual harassment. Women deserve to be able to walk ANYWHERE -- alone -- without feeling uncomfortable from a random male yelling to her “Hey, blondie, nice a $$!” I wear what I want, when I want, and I do it for me -- for no one else, and definitely not for a man’s approval. Men need to learn that not only are these comments harassment, but they are NOT compliments. 

Photo by Alexie Evans“I used this message because I’m tired of people claiming women shouldn’t be brutalized because of their connection to someone else. It makes us seem like objects, with our only value coming from others. Women should be safe regardless of who they are or who they know.” - Bethany Dietz 

 

Photo by Samantha McPherson“Rape happens because rapists choose to rape. Period. No one deserves to be on the receiving end of such a vile decision.” - Wagatwe Sara Wanjuki 

Photo by Samantha McPherson"Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength." - G.D. Anderson 

Photo by Samantha McPherson"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a b*tch. You've got to go out and kick a$$." - Maya Angelou 

Photo by Samantha McPherson"I've never met a woman who is not strong, but sometimes they don't let it out. Then there's a tragedy, and then all of a sudden that strength comes. My message is let the strength come out before the tragedy." -- Diane von Furstenberg 

Photo by Emily Taylor“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” - Kofi Annan 

Photo by Emily TaylorA crowd of men traditionally gather on TBTN at the corner of Wellington and Dundas to support women's right to walk the streets alone in freedom and safety. 

Photo by Emily Taylor“We march and chant and literally take over the streets as a statement about women feeling safe to walk the streets alone.” - Women’s Events Committee 

Photo by Emily Taylor"The idea of being a feminist: so many women have come to this idea of it being anti-male and not able to connect with the opposite sex, but what feminism is about is equality and human rights. For me that is just an essential part of my identity." -- Lena Dunham  

Photo by Samantha McPherson"I raise up my voice -- not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back." -- Malala Yousafzai  

Photo by Samantha McPherson"I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century." -- Hillary Clinton