NORTH BAY -- In an effort to spark a conversation and bring people together across the province, North Bay is participating in a virtual Take Back The Night event.

"Because we can't actually do a walk, it will be a two-hour video," said Kylee Barkowski, a public educator at Amelia Rising Sexual Violence Support Centre. "The video will actually be pre-recorded and streaming on Facebook and YouTube on Sept. 25 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m." 

The event will feature survivors' stories and guest speakers to help connect people across the province this year.

"We're hoping that it increases accessibility for the event, people that are in remote or rural areas or are unable to attend marches or in-person events just due to certain barriers. So, we're really hoping that with this year and it being virtual, people can join us and can attend," said Barkowski. 

Although it is unclear when exactly Take Back the Night walks started in North Bay, Meghan Trussler, the executive director at Amelia Rising said it has been going on since she started in 2003. 

"It originated as women taking back the night, as an unsafe time for women to go out and one of those myths that women going out at night have to change their behaviour around in order to prevent sexual assault when we know that the only people who can prevent are those who are assaulting," said Trussler. "I think, anecdotally, having these events brings up more conversations and brings people together to talk about how this effects (women) and what we're doing in our communities in order to do it better." 

The virtual event this year is in partnership with the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres and multiple other sexual assault centres across the province. 

According to the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa, one in three women and one in six men worldwide will experience some form of sexual violence. Within Canada, one in two women will experience sexual and or physical violence in their lifetime.

The annual event aims to help educate and raise awareness throughout all communities. 

"The great thing about this event being virtual this year is people can view it after the event as well," said Bakowski. "So if you're unable to make it on the 24th at 5 p.m. to watch the video, it will be there and up and posted for people to view afterwards in days and weeks and months after to view and to watch and to share." 

More information can be found by searching #TBTNVirtual or visiting the Facebook event page.

If you know someone who is experiencing or has experienced rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment or other kinds of sexual violence, you can find help here.