Changes That Heal hosts Take Back the Night

A heart warming candle-lit memorial for Angila Wilson reminded of the seriousness of prevention

Lorena Traub puts the finishing touches on a memorial honouring Angila Wilson

Lorena Traub puts the finishing touches on a memorial honouring Angila Wilson

Eleanor Deckert

On a chilly, damp evening five women from the program Changes That Heal brought the warmth of community involvement to over 50 participants at the annual Take Back the Night event, held this year at Dutch Lake beach, Thursday, Sept. 25.

“We really appreciate the on-going support we have from so many businesses, non-profits, artists, government agencies and individuals,” MC Wendy Vogels said in her welcome.

And there was plenty of evidence of community support as participants enjoyed the BBQ dinner and home baking, door prizes galore given out in between guest speakers, musicians sharing ballads, art activities for children, borrowed tents to shed the rain.

A heart warming candle-lit memorial for Angila Wilson reminded of the seriousness of prevention, intervention and finding solutions to domestic violence.

“Why does she stay?” was the topic of the first speaker, Michele Walker, director of violence against woman intervention and support services at Kamloops YMCA-YWCA. Recent media attention regarding the domestic violence of NFL players has led to a hashtag #WhyIStayed on Twitter and also #WhyILeft. Huge numbers of stories and perspectives have been shared so onlookers gain understanding. In closing, Walker shifted perspective by asking, “Why does he choose violence?” adding, “Violence is a choice.”

Ava Perraton, manager of women’s services at Yellowhead Community Services, mentioned the services available, newly strengthened teamwork between agencies and the importance of including male allies as society gains clarity on this complex topic. Perraton also underlined the significance to young children who see and hear violence in the home.

Jean Bonner, First Nations educator in Raft River Elementary, shared a message from the experience of her young adult son. “It is hard to accompany my sisters or cousins to events and have the courage to stand up to males who approach them in ways which the young women find threatening.” Protecting those we care for. It is a role every one of us can be a part of.

Sergeant Kevin Podbisky explained how the role of the RCMP has changed over time with improved policies and interaction with other agencies. Constables Phillips and Bruns also attended. Podbisky felt that education at an early age in the schools would reduce the domestic violence calls to police.

Melody Romeo of Victim’s Services spoke a simple message, encouraging people to ask for help. “No call is too small.”

Deb Caldwell, Safe Home coordinator, spoke of newly rededicated teamwork and partnerships between organizations in our community.

Take Back the Night began as annual candle-lit marches back in the 1970s.

 

“Every woman should feel safe to walk through her neighbourhood at night,” Vogels reminded the crowd. “And she should feel safe in her own home.”