These past few days have been intense to say the least. When I woke up today I could feel the energy was different somehow. The sky was gray and the wind was blowing. Last night my lover and I could hear a couple fighting as the door slammed and in the morning we awoke to a man shouting “what the fuck is wrong with you people?” Little did I know that those words would ring over in my mind as the day progressed. At 10:00 I headed over to the Women’s Centre where we conducted a board meeting; all was going well until we got a phone call from Global News looking for our comment on a recent development here in HRM. Apparently, the Halifax Regional Police had posted pictures on their facebook and various other media outlets of women in various states of undress that were taken on a cell-phone by a sick individual here in Halifax. The police were posting the pictures in an attempt to find the women to speak to them about the circumstances of the photographs. Shockingly, none of the pictures were altered to protect the identity of the women. As myself and the other women in the room began to read the newspaper articles and responses online we became frustrated with yet another case of victim-blaming. (Victim-blaming is when the blame is placed on the person against whom the crime is committed instead of the person who committed the crime). The first line in an article written by The Chronical Herald said “Images of four scantily clad young women are being circulated to media by Halifax Regional Police…” which is an outrage. Shouldn’t it read something like “Disturbed individual is taking pictures of young women“? I take issue with the words “scantily clad”– As if to be undressed in our own homes is somehow bad. The whole article is poorly written and filled with little hidden (and not so hidden) attacks on women. The second paragraph talks about how the police had sought legal council before posting the pictures (as if that is their primary concern, shouldn’t they be thinking of the ethical issues instead of the legal issues?) To make matters worse, on the Halifax Regional Police’s facebook page people were posting comments that said things like “those women should shut their blinds and lock their windows.” These types of comments further place the blame on the women and disregard the disgusting act of the individual who took the photos. These types of events just reinforce the fact that we need community action such as “Take Back The Night” which helps to build a community of strong feminists and our allies so that we can face these issues which happen on a regular basis. Here is a link to our spot on Global Evening News in which you can see the women’s centre and myself speaking out about this.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Take Back The Night (which in my opinion, was a success). I felt that our march and the chanting inspired me in a way that makes me truly believe that I am on the right path in my life. I care about this stuff in a way that makes my heart weep and my body shiver. Take Back The Night began in 1975 and still continues to this day. It is a rally/march to speak out about the violence that happens to women at night (and during all hours) but specifically speaks to the violence that happens during the cover of night. Women are tired of being afraid to walk on the street at night, we’re tired of having to watch how much we drink and tired of having to worry about how low our shirt is at the bar. We’re tired of being too friendly, and of thinking about the horrid things that happen to women all the time. Statistically speaking, Halifax has the highest rate of sexual violence in all of Canada. We need Take Back The Night to unite us together and fight back against these abuses.

Power Couple

Ellen, from Dalhousie, speaking to the crowd.

                                 Dee, my co-worker, getting ready to lead the group.

As I said earlier in this post, today was an intense day. I am now sitting here with a glass of red wine and feeling good about the work I did today. I apologize for the wordy post but sometimes I’ll need to write about my feminism and share my stories with you. Thanks for reading!