100s protest violence against women in Tel Aviv

"Take Back The Night" march marks World Awareness Day for Violence Against Women; Meretz leader addresses crowd.

Activists protest violence against women 370 (photo credit: Laura Kelly)
Activists protest violence against women 370
(photo credit: Laura Kelly)
Hundreds gathered Sunday night in a “Take back the night” march that went from Rabin Square and culminated in Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque square. The rally was to mark World Awareness Day for Violence Against Women. The crowd was a mix of genders and races, with activists and politicians uniting against the injustice of violence towards women.
A stage was set up for speakers and activists who gave speeches, poems and demonstrations to break the silence surrounding what a victim looks like.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On spoke to the crowd to advocate for women and to not stand by for violence of any kind. Happy with the turnout for the cause, she said, “It’s amazing so many people gathered here against violence towards women.”
Meretz members stood in the crowd holding signs of support. “I am here tonight to stop violence against women, rape, chauvinism and sexism,” said Nitay Sheinenzon, a party member.
Not everyone thought the liberal political side was being adequately represented.
“Where are the activists who are demonstrating against the war?” asked Maya Welledstein, a leftist activist and feminist. “It’s a disappointment every year.”
“Regardless of any security issues and wars in Israel,” Welledstein continued, “Jewish and Palestinian women can unite in their fight against sexual violence against women.”
“I think the important thing about this march is to increase awareness,” a member of the Queer Anarchist Group said, declining to give her name. The group joined the march from Levinsky Street at the Central Bus Station.
The neighborhood was the scene of the rape of a minor in May this year and the group wanted to continue awareness.
“One speaker said she was raped in South Tel Aviv and no one paid attention,” she continued.
Before leaving the rally for the night, she made a final statement of the importance of reaching out for help in any situation.
“Any woman who feels any kind of harassment needs to know it is OK to call. They need to call to prevent the same abuser or rapist from harming other women. No one deserves this kind of treatment.”
Singer and actress Dana Berger closed the event singing a capella and then with an acoustic guitar.
Her lyrics spoke about the importance of standing up for yourself no matter how alone you feel. Berger wanted to get the message across to never give up one’s freedom or happiness for anything. Coming off the stage, she said it was an amazing feeling to be able to perform for such a cause. “It’s a privilege to be with all these courageous women.”
The website of the association of rape crisis centers is www.1202.org.il/English.