Women, men and children will take to the street Sept. 14 in the annual Kelowna Take Back The Night march to end violence against women.—Image credit: Facebook

Kelowna marchers plan to ‘take back the night’

Annual Take Back The Night march scheduled for Sept 14 downtown.

Kelowna-area residents will take to the street Sept. 14 in a bid to take back the night.

The Take Back The Night Rally and March to End Sexual Violence Against Women and Children will take place in downtown Kelowna and organizers hope to break the record for participants that it set last year.

Michelle Novakowski, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society, which organizes the annual march in Kelowna, said the event this year is as important as ever given the political climate in the U.S. and it’s adverse spin-off effects in this country when it comes to tolerance and acceptance.

“It’s not as bad here as it is in the bigger centres,” she said, but she added it is still a concern.

Novakowsi said despite talk of efforts being made here to increase safety on the streets, she, and many other women she knows, do not feel safe to walk alone at night. And that needs to change.

“I’m actually a little discouraged,” she said.

So the call has gone out to everyone in the community—women, men and children—to turn out for the march and send a message that all violence, particularly that aimed at women, is wrong and must be stopped.

The Elizabeth Fry Society is also asking the community to lend its voice to “make some noise and shatter the silence” on behalf of sexual assault survivors.

The annual Take Back the Night March raises awareness about sexual violence and provides an opportunity for everyone in the community to provide support and strength to survivors of violence.

This year, as in the past, marchers will gather at Kerry Park in downtown Kelowna at 6:30 p.m. and march up one side of Bernard Avenue and down the other.

Prior to the march there will be a self-defence demonstration and speakers.

Last year, more than 200 people participated.