This year the annual Take Back the Night march tried something new by hosting a community get together in Boitanio Park prior to the march.
Traditionally, Take Back the Night in Williams Lake has begun around 5 p.m. with marchers walking from the Purple House around the bloc through the downtown area near Boitanio Park before ending where they take part in the ‘Love Is’ campaign and write messages on rocks.
This year, however, organizers set up a small party-style event in Boitanio Park by the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Amphitheater complete with food, entertainment and informational booths for local violence prevention and childcare groups at 4 p.m. The 30 or so people in attendance seemed to enjoy this new format as they chatted amongst themselves and listened to speeches given by organizers.
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Cariboo Friendship Society member Tamara Garreau, who chairs the Violence is Preventable Committee, helped organize and re-imagine the event this year. Garreau said the primary purpose of Take Back the Night is to raise awareness and draw attention to violence of all kinds in society, regardless of perpetrators or victims.
Hosting this precursor to the march was their way of making the event more positive and family-friendly, Garreau said. For their first year of doing it, she felt the turnout was really good and better already than the previous marches.
“(This event) is to say we’re not afraid to be out at night. Most violence happens at the hands of someone you know, so for us to go out, we shouldn’t be afraid to go out as women we need to be in the public at night and not feel fear,” Garreau said.