A Thorncliffe Park community group is hoping residents turn out in large numbers for the area’s first-ever neighbourhood walk to end violence against women.
On Thursday, the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office will host a walk and community event commemorating the anniversary of the 1989 Montreal Massacre when 14 women were murdered by a gunman at Ecole Polytecnhique.
The Dec. 6 anniversary is marked as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Local organizer Risa Abella hopes the Thorncliffe walk encourages people to think about violence against women taking place locally.
“It’s important because it shows the community and the neighbourhood taking a cohesive stand,” said Abella, who is a family support program manager for the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO).
“It’s a positive vehicle to bring the community together to combat these issues.”
The walk begins at 4 p.m. at the organization’s youth centre, located at 45 Overlea Blvd. at the back of East York Town Centre, and loops along the Thorncliffe Park Drive horseshoe before returning to the youth centre where speakers from the White Ribbon campaign and the Toronto police will give brief presentations.
“It’s going to be an honour and a remembrance, as well as a celebration of women’s skills and capacity,” said Abella.
Members of the TNO’s leadership program for girls between the ages of 9 and 19 will also take part in the post-walk events.
Data from the Canadian Women’s Foundation shows half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16, while arrests for domestic violence make up 12 per cent of overall violent crime in the country.
Just 22 per cent of domestic abuses and 10 per cent of sexual assaults are ever reported to police, the data said.
The decision to host a neighbourhood walk in Thorncliffe, said Abella, coincides with an increase in the number of local cases of violence against women. “From a case management perspective, we are meeting and exceeding our numbers unfortunately,” said Abella. “Like any neighbourhood, it is an issue that is at the forefront.”
She said cases of violence affects women from all walks of life.
“We see all sorts of women, from different cultural and religious groups, young, old, mothers and single women,” she said.
“This is our way of standing up to eliminate violence against women and girls.”
For more information about the Dec. 6 neighbourhood walk and community event contact the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office at 416-421-8997.