Annex neighbourhood rallies against sex assaults
Published Monday, September 3, 2012 1:32PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 3, 2012 7:58PM EDT
Hundreds of people gathered in Toronto’s Christie Pits on Monday to take a stand against the string of sexual assaults that have plagued the Annex community this summer.
The rally began in the Bloor Street and Christie Street area park at around 7 p.m., before participants marched through the neighbourhood.
Nearly 600 people had signed up to attend the rally on Facebook.
“We really wanted to have a space for the community to come together about the recent sexual assaults and really speak out and express how they have been feeling,” organizer Farah Khan told reporters on Monday.
“And also for survivors to know that they are not alone, that there is a community that supports them.”
Cheri DiNovo, NDP MPP for Parkdale-High Park, attended the rally and said she has been fighting for women’s equality for four decades.
“It is about time that women can walk through the streets of Toronto safely, and clearly it is still not that time,” DiNovo told reporters.
“I am here for basic equality. You cannot have equality without safety.”
Ten women have come forward to police to report sexual assaults from similar suspects in the Annex and Kensington Market neighbourhoods in July and August.
Toronto police say the attacks are similar in nature, and all involve females walking alone after dark. Police said earlier this week that extra forces are patrolling the area, including both uniformed and plain-clothed officers.
The suspect in all the cases is described as a black male, between 17 and 35 years of age and between 5’7” and 5’9” tall.