Event brings awareness to preventing abuse
SYDNEY — The placing of ribbons representing different forms of abuse onto a tree launched Family Violence Prevention Week in Cape Breton, Friday.
The week is marked annually by the Cape Breton Interagency on Family Violence.
Helen Morrison, chair of the Family Violence Prevention Week committee, told those attending the launch at Cape Breton University’s Great Hall that it provides an opportunity to get out into the community to raise awareness of the issue. She noted that kits with activities and books are sent to daycares and elementary schools.
“It just makes them aware of the issues, of respecting each other and a non-bullying message, as well,” Morrison said.
Each year, the launch ceremony includes the placing of ribbons on a tree. The ribbons are of different colours — blue standing for child abuse, purple representing women abuse, gold for elder abuse, yellow and black representing violence against people with disabilities and white to signify men opposed to violence against women.
Robert Bailey, CBU’s vicepresident academic, noted his partner formerly worked at a women’s shelter in Ontario. From that experience, Bailey said he learned that family violence overwhelmingly affects women and it’s important for everyone to recognize that working together helps eradicate violence. He noted family violence is also not limited to any particular economic group, it transcends boundaries.
Bailey added it’s important to speak up when you witness violence and not be a bystander.
“ Silence isn’t an option,” he said.
At the launch, the interagency presented its Heartfelt Appreciation Award to Cape Breton University. It’s given to a member agency that works with or assists victims of family violence. Certificates of appreciation were also presented to the Mayflower Mall and Sobeys in recognition of their support.
This year, the interagency is encouraging people to take part in its Purple Friday campaign — asking them to wear something purple next Friday. If a workplace has a casual Friday where employees pay a sum to wear casual clothes to work, the group is asking they consider donating the proceeds for the day to one of its member agencies.
Throughout the week, Cape Breton Transition House will make presentations to school children.
Family Violence Prevention Week runs from Feb. 14-20. It’s been marked locally since 1994.
Megan Cornforth is surrounded by other members of the Holy Angels High School drama group as they act out a dramatic presentation during the launch of Family Violence Prevention Week at Cape Breton University’s Great Hall, Friday.