Take Back the Trails

In West Hamilton, people were participating in a “Take Back the Trails” walk following a sexual assault.

The event was organized by a woman named Amanda Pocha, who says its important that women bond together in times like this to show solidarity, and to demonstrate that women should not have to live in fear. About 500 people signed up on the Facebook event and the rain didn’t seem to be keeping people away either.

Amanda Pocha is a well known face in Hamilton’s running community and when she heard about last week’s attack and sexual assault on the Bruce Trail, she knew she had to do something. So she created an event on Faceboook called ‘Take Back the Trails’. but what she didn’t expect, was how many people would come out and in the pouring rain…

About 500 people came out Friday, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers and mothers and daughters even pets.

The attack happened last Wednesday in broad daylight, when a woman was running on the Bruce Trail near the Dundurn stairs. Police say she heard someone call out to her, she turned around, and was struck in the head, and then sexually assaulted.

Police are still looking for the man responsible. They put out a composite sketch, based on the woman’s description.

“I just want to scream. It’s not fair that we have to be in fear in our home spaces, in our trails, in our community. We shouldnt have to at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, find someone to go outside with.” says Pocha.

But many women we spoke to say, they take safety precautions, and going with a buddy is one of them.

But Pocha says women shouldn’t have to feel this way. She says she has been victimized herself, and this recent attack has struck a chord with her. “Every woman that I know has to some degree knowing that you’re not alone, it’s such important message. There are people that are here for you.”

And this isn’t the first time women have been targetted on the trail, in July last year, a man was charged with assault and sexual assault in connection with two separate attacks in a week.

The event on Friday is accepting cash donations that will go directly to Sacha, the sexual assault centre for Hamilton area.