September 19, 2013 - 5:42 PM
KELOWNA - Tonight local residents, their friends and families are invited to make some noise after dark in the streets of downtown Kelowna.
A 7 p.m. gathering at Stuart Park will kick off the annual Take Back the Night march calling attention to sexualized violence. The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society and Okanagan Roller Derby Association will lead the crowd along the downtown waterfront, up Bernard Avenue and over to Lawrence Avenue.
With drumming, a megaphone speaker, loud chanting and roller skaters, the march promises to disrupt the quiet of night and silence on sexual violence, says the society's community engagement coordinator, Allie Grey.
"It's just to raise the noise that this is still a prevalent issue in our commmunity," Grey says, citing the June assault of a young woman walking the Mission Creek Greenway.
"We have a two-year wait list for clients to access counselling here and that list isn't getting any shorter," Grey says.
Two women whose lives have been impacted by sexual violence will speak to the crowd of fellow survivors, along with women and men of all ages.
"It's not a bunch of raging feminists making a ruckus," Grey says, noting a large turnout of male volunteers last year.
Nor is the march a somber occasion - quite the opposite, with a bit of dancing to get warmed up before the march.
It's an opportunity feel strong and victorious, Grey says.
"(Women) have the right to walk down street at night and feel safe - it's our right as human beings."
The march will wrap up at the society's office for a meet and greet with hot chocolate and cookies and an opportunity to learn about their community services.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013