Signs have been popping up in parks across Guelph and Wellington County as part of a new campaign from the Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis for Take Back the Night.
Called the ‘Take Back the Trail’ residents can visit different parks until Friday to find the signs and learn more about services offered by GWWIC, and how they can prevent sexual violence. Residents can also share photos of them and the signs on social media to spread further awareness.
To learn where the nearest location of this campaign is in your area, click here.
A release about the event explains many women and gender-diverse individuals don’t feel safe walking alone and the campaign provides an opportunity for community members to reflect on the possibilities for shifting local and global realities of gender-based violence.
“So this is kind of one way to address, by putting signs onto parks and trails to directly bring this event to them,” said Jensen Williams, a public educator with the GWWIC.
Along with the campaign, Williams explains they will also hold a virtual ceremony on Facebook on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
“It will be a short Facebook live and we’ll have some speakers, kind of similar to what we would for Take Back the Night in person,” said Williams, citing concerns about the delta variant as one reason the GWWIC decided to hold off on an in-person event.
Despite this, the GWWIC is encouraging people to tune in with friends, family or host a watch party to create ‘pockets of communities.’
“While we might be apart, that we're not alone, and I think that’s important particularly for survivors who will be joining us online.”
Williams adds while the event is important every year, this year is particularly important, due to the increased reports of violence and a lack of opportunities to gather.
“We’ve seen not only an increase in violence, but also barriers in seeking support,” she said about the challenges survivors are currently facing, “Many services like ours, the Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis, had to move virtually, so it took away some of those face to face services.”
The campaign is also an attempt to include Wellington County. Typically, the GWWIC have always held Take Back The Night in Guelph, while they serve all of Wellington County.
“This Take Back The Trail Campaign is also our way to expand our reach of Take Back The Night in the county and to also reach audiences who might not know about Take Back The Night and not participated in Take Back The Night before,” she said.
So far, Williams notes residents in both areas have been responding well to the campaign.
“We’ve been seeing folks participating, people going out in groups, tagging us on social media, which has been lovely to see,” said Williams.
To learn more about services offered by the Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, go to gwwomenincrisis.org. Those who are in need of immediate support can call 519-836-5710.