On Thursday, November 25, students, dons, and staff face gathered outside Oscar Peterson Hall for Light the Night. For the fifth year, UTM has raised awareness of violence against women in hopes of making resources accessible to those who need it.
“We would like to thank you all for coming,” said Maria Schiopu, a residence don. “Light the night, an annual event that has been run by residence here at UTM for five years now, is a means to raise awareness against the sexual, mental, and verbal abuse of women”.
A video, filmed and directed by Bryan Kowalsky, showcased shocking statistics about abuse. The crowd stood still in the light rain, eyes and minds locked on the video which ended with the words, “No means no.”
Naheed from the Yellow Brick House Foundation shared a few words. “At the Yellow Brick House, we offer counselling, emergency shelter, outreach services and a 24-hour crisis line,” she said. Naheed spoke of the different kinds of abuse that women and children face and told the story of a woman that the Yellow Brick House rehabilitated after being emotionally and physically abused by her husband.
Jasmine Mohazab, a residence don, explained the purpose of the night. “Tonight we walk through our campus, candles in hand. Together, we erase the fear some of us may have had walking through our campus in the dark.”
Volunteers were stationed throughout the campus holding up signs with quotes and statistics about abuse against women and children.
The crowd is directed to the lobby of Roy Ivor Hall where a mural is to be created. Eight canvases covered in red and purple hand prints lay on the floor. Volunteers added their handprints in blue and made the commitment, “These hands will not partake in violence.”