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Upcoming lantern walk seeks to raise awareness of violence against women

The walk is scheduled for Oct. 15 starting at Subway at Main Street and Hwy 16
Take Back the Night Walk to raise awareness for domestic violence. The Take Back The Night Foundation is an international group focused on combating domestic violence and sexual assault. (Photo Conor Wilson/Valley Record)

Take Back The Night (TBTN) is a night walk to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. The TBTN lantern walk is Oct. 15, at 7 p.m., gathering first at Rotary Park, in front of Subway in Smithers.

This year’s TBTN event will be a lantern walk along Main Street. Everyone is encouraged to make a lantern and join the walk. Free paper mache lantern-making kits or paper lanterns that can be painted are available at the Northern Society for Domestic Peace’s (NSDP) office, at 3772 First Ave. The public can swing by and pick up supplies or just bring a lantern from home.

The (NSDP) and the new Sexual Assault Response team are hosting the family-friendly lantern walk.

Origins of the events began in the 1970s as a response to incidents of sexual violence against women that were occurring in major cities across the USA. The TBTN movement quickly spread to Canada and other countries around the world and has continued over decades as an international event that draws attention to and inspires action on violence against women and girls.

READ MORE: Northern Society for Domestic Peace launches new 24-hour crisis support team

Despite TBTN originating as a call to end sexual violence that prevented women from feeling safe walking alone at night, the movement has grown over the years to encompass awareness-raising on the levels of violence that women and girls have historically experienced, and continue to face across all countries, classes, races, and religions.

While the walk is intended to highlight and create safe spaces for women, men, children and families are encouraged to attend and show solidarity and support.

NSDP is using the Smithers event to advocate for safety, inclusivity, and comfort in our communities for women and girls, but also to promote the new Sexual Assault Response Team.

The SAS team provides 24-hour crisis call-out support to people who have experienced sexual assault in this region and works in collaboration with other systems and services in the area to improve the ways response is given to victims of sexual violence.

This initiative is one more step in providing choices and support for survivors in northern B.C., organizers say.

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