Barbeque event tackles violence against women

Changes That Heal takes the subject beyond sexual violence and being safe to walk at night

Changes That Heal group member Lee Christiansen (l) and volunteer Joe Short serve out veggie and buffalo chili during the Take Back the Night barbeque held Wednesday evening

Changes That Heal group member Lee Christiansen (l) and volunteer Joe Short serve out veggie and buffalo chili during the Take Back the Night barbeque held Wednesday evening

Wendy Vogels

On Sept. 16, Changes That Heal held its second annual free community barbeque at Dutch Lake beach to commemorate Take Back the Night.

TBTN is an international event with the mission of ending sexual violence in all forms with hundreds of events held in over 30 countries annually.

Events often include marches, rallies and vigils intended as a protest and direct action against rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Changes That Heal takes the subject beyond sexual violence and being safe to walk at night continuing to the idea that all women should also be able to feel safe in their own homes.

About 80 people enjoyed a dinner of hot dogs, buffalo chili, vegetarian  chili, bannock, water melon and yummy donated desserts while enjoying the music of local musicians Doug Fenwick, Sam Willan, Howard Mitchell and Loyd Bishop.

Randy Hedlund, assisted by Andy Leese, performed the song, “Don’t Defend Your Enemies” that he wrote in tribute to Angila Wilson.

The mother of three was killed last year, apparently the victim of domestic violence.

The weather cooperated, creating a beautiful evening at the equally beautiful beach setting by the lake.

After dinner, the crowd listened to Adam Moilliet and Ava Perraton from Yellowhead Community Services describe the services available for women in our community who are dealing with violence/abuse issues. Adam introduced Margaret Neal as the new Safe Home coordinator for the North Thompson Valley.

Melody Romeo introduced herself as the manager of the North Thompson Victim Assistance Unit with the RCMP.

Corporal Mark Labossiere spoke about the RCMP’s perspective on the subject of violence against women.

Lastly, Jean Bonner gave a moving speech about the importance of mutual support among community members and the plight of the missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

In between the speeches, door prizes donated by several local businesses and individuals were handed out.

A huge thank you goes out to all the donors, musicians, speakers and volunteers that made this event possible.