Keynote speaker for this year’s Take Back the Night event, Angela MacDougall, will also be holding a special education conversation at the Dutch Lake Community Centre where she’ll talk about intimate partner violence and strategies that can be used to put an end to the issue. Photo submitted

This year’s Take Back the Night event to feature keynote speaker Angela MacDougall

The event takes place Sept. 19 beginning with a march from Dutch Lake Beach to the Elks Hall

The annual Take Back the Night is back for another year.

The event aims to bring attention to intimate partner violence with an emphasis on the role men can play in the solutions of the issue.

The event takes place on Sept. 19 with a march at 4 p.m. from Dutch Lake Beach to the Elks Hall, where it finishes with a free community dinner, guest speakers and an open mic event for people who want to share their stories.

Those who can’t participate in the march are free to meet at the Elks Hall at 5 p.m. for the remainder of the activities.

This year’s keynote speaker this year is Angela MacDougall, who will also be doing a separate educational conversation that afternoon at the Dutch Lake Community Centre at 1 p.m.

MacDougall is an award-winning speaker, educator and advocate who has worked domestically and globally on issues of gender equity, women’s rights and human rights for 30 years.

“She’s renowned, I worked with her in the 1990s in the early days of organizing the Women’s Memorial March. She was very vocal in missing and murdered Indigenous women,” said Sheila Nyman, stopping the violence counsellor with Yellowhead Community Services (YCS), who’s helping organize the event with Changes That Heal.

MacDougall is the executive director at Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver, a group that’s a leading national advocate in ending gender violence.

Community barbecue helps Take Back the Night

The aim of her interactive presentation is to start generating conversations and bring awareness to intimate partner violence, including sexual violence toward men, a topic that gets little attention as men are less likely to be vocal about it.

“Men don’t generally want to speak up, but we all feel that way. We’re all human and don’t want to be violated. We don’t want our boundaries pushed. We don’t want to be oppressed,” said Nyman.

She added Clearwater has long been thought of as a place where people are safe and free from such situations, but in many cases, there are so many instances of intimate partner violence, some have to wait up to a month for an appointment with her for therapy services.

“It’s not just physical, but mental and financial, where men have complete control of the financial situation and the women and children are under his thumb; sometimes the women are scared to leave because they don’t know what to do with the children,” said Nyman.

“It happens here more than people realize.”

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