Lethbridge women take back the night

A roar of passion sounded in downtown Lethbridge as men, women and children marched for the safety of their mothers, sisters and friends.

Citizens of Lethbridge proudly clutched their handmade signs, braving the rain, to literally confront oppression and combat violence.

The Young Women’s Crises Association held Take Back the Night on Oct. 20 as an initiative to protest societal and social inequality between the sexes.

“Men can go out at any time and walk on the street and it’s not an issue,” Maria Fitzpatrick, the MLA for Lethbridge East said. “Women should be able to go out at any time if that’s what they choose to do.”

Fitzpatrick is a reverent supporter for women’s rights, and has been for her entire life. She worked for the federal government for 32 years and signed the original pay equity complaint in 1984.

“It took 15 years for our complaint to be processed and settled.”

Fitzpatrick said that for some companies [like the post office], it took even longer to process and settle the complaint. Some of the women waiting for the settlement died before they had gotten their share.

Fitzpatrick said that while society has made some great strides in an effort to create a sense of equality, more must be done.

“We hear two thousand women have been sexually assaulted,” Fitzpatrick explained with an example. “We don’t hear the active voice: Two thousand men have sexually assaulted women.”

Fitzpatrick described this language hurdle as “toxic masculinity.”

“It’s when males talk about women in a demeaning fashion. They may not mean to do that, but they do.”

The MLA said this could range from demeaning names to flat-out objectification, such as treating women as pieces of meat.

This year’s theme for Take Back The Night was “We Believe The Survivors.”

The CEO of the YWCA, Jennifer Lepko said this event empowers survivors and brings awareness to the community about the struggles women still face today.

“It starts the conversation; it gets people talking,” Lepko said.

She went on to say that because these issues are reoccurring and happening to this day, this topic needs to be addressed.

Lethbridge took part in the internationally held event on Friday, Oct. 20. The protest began in Galt Gardens before they marched to the YWCA.

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