Eileen is a very active Hamiltonian with a penchant for social justice committee work. She is a volunteer with SACHA’s crisis/support line, and is also a member of TBTN’s organizing committee. Jen caught up with Eileen to ask her a few questions about her experiences with TBTN over the years.
J: Last year, Hamilton celebrated its 30th anniversary of TBTN. As a long time Hamiltonian, what are some of your thoughts about how the event has grown and changed over the years?
E: It was amazing to see how many women attended the event last year. That is the growth that is the most important. We need to reach out, touch and recruit as many women as possible to fight violence.
J: How many years have you been part of the TBTN organizing committee? What aspects of committee work are the most rewarding for you? What are some of the challenges?
E: This is only my second year on the committee. The committee is made up of wonderful female identified folks. Our sole purpose is to organize this amazing event. The biggest challenge is working within our limited budget.
J: What kind of role do you think an event like TBTN can play in the ongoing struggle to end sexist oppression.
E: As I said earlier, this is such an outreach event that it has to touch more people every year. We cannot stop educating and recruiting people who will fight with us. The fact that this is a free event draws supporters from all walks of life and this is amazing to see.
J: Do you think being a parent has strongly influenced your commitment and dedication to challenging sexual and gender-based violence?
E: It certainly has – unfortunately I did not understand how traumatic abuse can be until after it affected my own family. By being a part of Take Back the Night, and a SACHA volunteer, I hope to help others and make everyone aware of how widespread this type of violence is, and that it must be stopped.
J: How does it feel to be out there every year marching with hundreds of strong women, shouting and taking up public space?
E: It is so empowering! Last year I had to stay back and help clean up and I truly missed the “march”.
J: What are you most looking forward to this year at TBTN?
E: I am hoping that our numbers soar – that we become a force so strong that we will no longer be ignored – that our event makes the front page of every local newspaper.
J: Do you have a favourite story or a fond memory of TBTN that you’d like to share with the readers?
E: My first TBTN was 11 years ago. I brought my daughter who was 12 then. It was watching her reactions that I will most remember. Her realization that she was far from alone in her struggle to heal.