An annual event raising awareness about sexual violence against women and marginalized members of the community looks a little bit different this year.
The Timmins and Area Women in Crisis (TAWC) is hosting the Take Back The Night walk at Gillies Lake Conservation Lake until 7 p.m today (Sept. 22).
The organization partnered with Timmins Native Friendship Centre, Ellevive and the Timmins Police Service for the event.
People are encouraged to stop by with their social bubble, walk at their own pace and distance. Purple ribbons and scarves were hung along the trail to show it’s part of the walk. TAWC is also giving away purple scarves.
For over 25 years, Timmins organizers have been hosting the rally downtown. Last year, it was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Instead of marching this year, organizers invited people to walk at Gillies Lake. The event started with an opening prayer and drumming.
“We certainly won’t be doing it this way going forward once COVID has gotten under control. We’ll be going back to our historical march-type events where we are walking through the streets, yelling and screaming and sharing our thoughts,” said Julie DeMarchi, TAWC executive director.
During the walk, people can think about those affected by sexual violence and difficulties they go through, DeMarchi said.
According to World Health Organization, one in three women experience physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner.
Research also found at least one in six men have experienced sexual abuse or assault.
DeMarchi said the majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim than a stranger.
“Often times, when women report (to the police), they’re the ones being scrutinized. It’s almost like they’re the ones being put on trial and not the perpetrator,” DeMarchi said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done within our justice system. It needs to start with believing women and victims and survivors.”
A Living Space worker Isabelle Chartier said it was her first walk and she was excited to come and show her support.
She came “to give victims a voice who may not have the opportunity to speak up,” she said.
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com