The message of Take Back the Night has never been more poignant in Quesnel than this year as the community prepares to add two more names to the list of 11 murdered and missing women.
Sandra Boyd and Ehr Anderson both met with violent deaths at the hands of someone else.
The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC), which has always been a strong advocate of empowering women, is again leading Take Back the Night, Sept. 18 at the Missing and Murdered Women’s Memorial at 6:30 p.m. followed by a march through town back to the WRC.
Alice Stoddard, who is researching missing and murdered Quesnel women said the 11 names on the memorial do not represent all the women who’ve gone missing or been murdered from this community.
“There are almost a dozen more women who aren’t listed on the memorial but are still missing or murdered,” she said.
“This could be for a variety of reasons, not the least being the families don’t want their loved one’s name or information released.”
WRC administrative coordinator Sheila Norquay said their needs to be a societal shift where men form respectful relationships with women and don’t rely on a damaged upbringing, or distorted views of women to dictate their behaviour.
“Men must take a leadership role in changing how other men view women and thus treat women,” Norquay said.
One of the programs delivered to the high school classes, Grade 8 – 12, by WRC is called Respectful Relations. The 12-workshop/class program targets all youth and encourages respectful relationships.
They also deliver a program called Making Connections, a 16-week program for women which views life through the trauma-informed lens. This program deals with the fallout from trauma.
WRC offers Stopping the Violence counselling, outreach with clients and other support programs for improving women’s lifestyle and outlook on their life.
Take Back the Night has its early roots in Europe in 1976 as a response to an alarming increase in sexual assaults. In 1977, other marches followed in West Germany and England where women demanded the right to move freely in their communities without violence.
In Canada, the first march known as Reclaim the Night was held in 1978 in Vancouver.
This event was organized by the Fly By Night Collective. All the marches have the common themes of awareness and accountability.