After a sexual assault on Hamilton’s trail system a few days ago, a group of women are taking action.
Take Back the Trails is a run/walk set up for Friday April 19th from 4 p.m. – 7.pm. along the Radial Trail and the Bruce Trail. The time is significant because it is the time of day the attack happened
Amanda Pocha, the organizer of the event, often runs the trails but doesn’t always have the opportunity to run with a friend.
She says she wants to be able to feel safe while running. “I started it to rally behind this woman and get women together so they can make friends and connections, so they can buddy up in the trails.”
She says she wants the woman who was attacked to know she is not alone, and she doesn’t want others to stop running the trails out of fear.
The assault happened around 4pm on April 10th. The female jogger was jogging along the Bruce Trail by the Dundurn stairs when she heard someone calling out to her so she stopped turned around police say she was struck by an object and then sexually assaulted.
“I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t been through some sort of sexual violence, whether is be physical or emotional.” said Pocha.
The event on Facebook is calling on women to participate, but men are also invited. She says everyone has the right to move freely and safely.
The Facebook group reads: “We can’t change that there are people in this world that threaten our safety, but we can be smart and strong together. We can show that we won’t quit and that they can’t take the trails away from us too.”
The group plans to meet at Chedoke Parking lot at 4 p.m. this Friday. Then they will head east toward Dundurn. The two trail options are based on who comes out.
The event has 181 people attending and 926 interested, which is a huge response considering Pocha only sent it out to 25 women just a couple days ago.
She also recently posted a petition for the City of Hamilton to add safety features to the trails by adding more lighting and emergency phones.