Take Back the Night, a set on Flickr.
October 10, 2013
Toronto, ON—Alongside the progressive women and organizations that are here today, we at the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (PWC-ON) are adamantly calling to end violence against women and to dismantle the system of patriarchy that attempts to routinely violate women’s bodies and women’s lives. As we take back the night, we call on all our sisters to meet the escalating forms of violence inflicted upon women in all its forms and manifestations—whether in the anti-woman policies imposed by the current neoliberal regime or in the culture of rape that is propagated as the norm—with our increasing solidarity and resistance. From this night and onwards, we refuse to be reduced to the scapegoats and victims of patriarchy as we assert our agency to control our own bodies and lives in the unfinished struggle for genuine women’s liberation.
Here at York University, we have been witness to the number of violent attacks and sexual assaults in our own campus. Such events that prompt immediate action and opposition have otherwise been met with the victim-blaming that is symptomatic of the normalization of rape culture. For this and with the lack of action on the part of the York University administration, the police and other state agencies, we hold the York administration accountable for every incident that violates the fundamental human rights and dignity of women on-campus. We acknowledge that this inaction and these attacks are not isolated events, but are manifestations of a patriarchal system whose very existence relies on the violent and systematic subordination of women.
Such attempts at the control over our lives and bodies, and at relegating women to victim-status, are evident in the current neoconservative and neoliberal agenda here in Canada and around the world. The gains that women before us have struggled long and hard for are being clawed back, such as our abortion rights and the evident absence of a strong and militant women’s movement. Our generation of women feels the impacts of the gutting of social services and the rise of unemployment in the form of increasing tuition fees and the contractual and gendered labour market, which are hitting working-class and racialized women even harder. Despite this, our presence here today as empowered women is a testament that such desperate attempts at degrading, objectifying and exploiting women will only prompt our collective resistance.
We stand here with everyone to condemn and heighten our resistance against all forms of physical abuse, rape, sexual violence, intimidation and the exploitation of our sexuality. In our struggle for genuine women’s liberation, this is non-negotiable. Where our aggressors and oppressors seek our silence and compliance, we will give them our resistance and defiance. When they break us down, we will build our sisterhood and our solidarity. When the seeds of violence are embedded within a system that flourishes on our oppression and exploitation as women, we must plant our own seeds to nurture our empowerment and liberation.
The streets are ours! Take back the night!
No more silence! No more violence!
Not the church! Not the state! Women must control our fate!
End the exploitation, march for genuine women’s liberation!