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Yellowknife Marches for Sexual Violence Awareness

A small march was recently held in the heart of Yellowknife for a very important cause.

This year, the Status of Women Council of the NWT launched their first ever Sexual Violence Awareness Month campaign this May. To help wrap up the occasion, they partnered with the RCMP, the Northern Mosaic Network, and the NWT Disabilities Council to help organize a small march through the Somba Ke park to help raise awareness of the various aspects of sexual violence.

People gathering for the start of the Sexual Violence Awareness March (Photo by Connor Pitre/TrueNorthFM)

The public took notice, as upwards of fifty YK Residents joined the Council for the walk, which stopped at various locations around the park to share information and statistics about sexual assault and violence, not only against women, but men, disabled individuals, and members of the LGBTQ community as well.

One of the speakers at the Sexual Violence Awareness March (Photo by Connor Pitre/True North FM)

Louis Elder, the Executive Director for the Status of Women Council, shared how the idea for the walk first got started.

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“Well the idea for the walk actually came out of the Yellowknife RCMP Department. A few of their members have been involved in similar initiatives elsewhere. So we reached out to a variety of organizations, letting them know that we’d be launching a Sexual Violence Awareness Month, and asking ‘Did they want to be a part of it,’ and so they responded and said “Have you ever done this? Do you wanna work together, and host this event in Yellowknife?”

The idea of the walk then became to share all of the relevant information about the effects of sexual violence. Their relevant information was zeroed in on the North to better directly help the many victims in our own communities. The organizers also reached out to some of the national sources for Sexual Violence Awareness Month, who suggested that they adopt the official colour of the campaign to grab a bit more attention; Teal.

Great Slave MLA Katrina Nockleby was also in attendance for the event, and shared her thoughts on the subject.

“It was super informative, and gave me more aspects of this situation to think about with respects to people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community, and the even further hardships that they feel. I often think about intersectional feminism, but now I’ll have to think about that intersectionality when it comes to this as well.”

The event turned out to be a rousing success. From Somba Ke Park, to the ceremonial Circle, to the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre, dozens of locals joined Louise and other like-minded leaders as they shared their message.

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“We’re terribly pleased to have such a good turnout. There was a lot of interest from the community to be part of something such as this event, so we’re just grateful that they were able to join us, to wear teal. There are many of us who are working together to create systemic change, and to improve the services that are being provided, and I think that’s evidenced by our crowd here today.”

Louise finished by saying that she hopes this message can be carried on, and that they have the opportunity to join up again for another walk next year.

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