Kerry's story of survivalMonday, September 17, 2012 by: Connie Carello
Since 1975 an empowering movement known as “Take back the night” has spread across the world educating and promoting awareness about crimes against women.
Starting in Philadelphia, after the murder of a young microbiologist Susan Alexander Speeth, the movement became international as women in Rome and Germany took to the streets to “reclaim the night.”
Only a few short years later, the event was carried out in Australia and Canada in 1978 and was better known as a movement to end violence against women.
Kerry Van Daele (second from right) could not be more proud to be marching in the event on September 20th, this coming Thursday.
A survivor of domestic assault that affected her physically, mentally and spiritually, Van Daele has often told her story during the event in an attempt to garnish support for those currently suffering in abusive relationships.
“For me, Take Back the Night is important because I think that women should feel free to be safe in their home, to be safe in the streets because women are not always safe in their home or the streets.”
Overcoming the hardships experienced in two abusive marriages, stalking, and sexual assault, Van Daele says that there is an opportunity to earn back control.
“Through counselling and having the opportunity to work on myself, I have been able to overcome. I no longer have nightmares and when I do have a flash back, I am able to control it, ground myself and take myself out of it. Sharing my story helps me with this and has allowed me to rebuild my self-esteem,” Van Daele said.
A lack of self-confidence, an inability to concentrate in school as a child, having a poor body image, and developing trust issues as well as disassociating herself from others, Van Daele lists several negative impacts abuse has had on her.
Currently, Van Daele is an advocate for the grassroots organization known as Womyn 4 Social Justice.
The organization hosts four events a year, including “Take Back the Night,” in collaboration with the Phoenix Rising Women’s Centre, a place that Van Daele said, “saved my life.”
With a slogan that expresses the Centre’s mission statement, “women helping women,” the building at 621 Albert Street East holds group sessions and houses a library full of information on specific topics.
With a police escort, those that wish to partake in the walk will march along Albert, Queen, and Bay at approximately 6pm finishing at the Bondar Pavilion where music and stories will be shared.
“It is empowering to be part of this event because you are able to have your voice heard. It is fantastic. Issues of violence are brought to the forefront and it makes you feel empower walking in a larger group. The feeling that you get, is hard to describe, but the support system you establish is amazing” Van Daele said.
“Everyone should come out and experience the fellowship because no one is alone!”