Take Back the Night to raise awareness of sexual violence in community | SteamboatToday.com

Take Back the Night to raise awareness of sexual violence in community

Laura Trabka

On Wednesday night, a group of people will make its way from the Steamboat Springs Police Department to the downtown Routt County Courthouse to bring light to a complex issue.

This is the first year Steamboat Springs will host Take Back the Night to raise awareness of sexual violence in the community.

The Take Back the Night Foundation, according to its website, serves to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives. The foundation seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and abuse.

Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, a nonprofit organization in Steamboat Springs, is spearheading the effort, and Executive Director Diane Moore said bringing this event to town is a way for people to learn about Advocates while also raising awareness about sexual violence.

"It's a powerful way to acknowledge what's going on in the community and to acknowledge the community support," Moore said.

Participants are welcome to meet at the police department, and the group will walk down Lincoln Avenue to the courthouse where Advocates will have tents set up and teal ribbons to give out in remembrance of sexual assault victims. Candles also will be lit, and Advocates will open the mic to any survivors who would like to make a statement.

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Tara Shaffer also will be speaking about how the issue affects communities on a local and national level, and she will share her story and experience with sexual abuse.

"Many of us who live here just don't think that this kind of violence happens," Moore said, adding that the event is a way to let people know what services Advocates provide.

Moore said the nonprofit organization helps anywhere from 25 to 45 people per year. It also provides counseling and has a crisis response team.

For Advocates' 30th anniversary in late 2013, an art installation of 7,000 paper doves was hung from a ceiling of Yampa Valley Medical Center to represent victims who have been served by Advocates.

Those doves will make their way to Take Back the Night where there will be a "Telling Tree," and participants can take the teal origami doves or ribbons provided and add them to the tree for people they know affected by sexual violence. The Telling Tree already will have 600 ribbons on it, one for each of the 600 survivors Advocates has assisted.

To participate in the event, people should be ready to walk at the police department at 840 Yampa St. by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

To reach Laura Mazade, call 970-870-1368, email lmazade@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Lmazade

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