Reclaiming the streets of Fort St. John

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

The event is held annually to demand an end to violence against women and girls in Fort St. John. Organizer Clarice Eckford says this year, she hopes to make it about more than women feeling comfortable walking outside at night.

"This year we're trying to give everyone a more broad perspective of violence against women, that it's not just about women feeling unsafe on the streets at night."

She explains it reaches to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual violence and violence against Aboriginal women. This year, she also wants to make it more personal. At various points throughout the walk, women from the community will be speaking from different perspectives.

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"I'm hoping it will educate people, certainly, but it will also make it personal, it'll put a face to it. The speakers have a wide range of experiences and reasons why they're speaking."

Eckford hopes that anyone who attends will take away from the event a sense that the community can take action by speaking out and not staying silent on the issue.

"I think particularly, sexual violence and domestic violence are two forms of violence against women that people don't want to think about or talk about, that I'm hoping people will really go out of their way to make it clear that they're not okay with violence against women, not just tonight, but in the future too," she says. "I don't think there's a lot of avenues or ways for the community to talk about violence against women. It's not really a thing that people feel comfortable talking about, but there's definitely high rates of violence against women in the community so we need to address that and make this a really safe community for everyone and a welcoming community for all families."

This year's march will begin at the Fort St. John Women's Resource Society at 8 p.m. After the walk, there will be refreshments and live music by Twin Peaks in the parking lot of the North Peace Cultural Centre. Everyone of any age and gender is encouraged to attend and bring signs and noisemakers.

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