In a bid to stop sexual assaults on Toronto streets, city residents are being asked to sit on their porches, hang out in parks and meet their neighbours.
“Every day it seems there’s another young woman getting groped at Ryerson or having a man come up on her from behind at Christie Pitts Park,” said Stephanie Guthrie, one of the organizers of the Take Back the Block events on Sept. 15.
Guthrie said she was alarmed by all of the alerts the Toronto Police issued via Twitter after a woman is sexually assaulted, so she and some friends came up with the idea of hosting two big block parties, one at Ryerson campus and one in Kensington Market, where people will get together outside to meet their neighbours.
The city is safer when there are people outside with their eyes on the street and bystanders are more inclined to help someone who’s in trouble if they know their neighbours and fell connected with their community, said Guthrie.
The idea that women should respond to sexual assaults in their neighbourhood by dressing conservatively and avoiding going out alone at night is unfair, she said. “So instead of making individual women be afraid, let’s respond as a community.”
Take Back the Block’s two events will take place immediately after the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre’s Take Back the Night march on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Pitman Hall Quad, at Ryerson University and Bellevue Square Park in the Kensington Market area.
To follow information on the events, follow the Twitter hashtag #TBTB