Event brings aware­ness to pre­vent­ing abuse

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS/WEATHER - nk­ing@cb­post.com BY NANCY KING

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.

Nancy King - Cape Bre­ton Post

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.

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