Cam­paign to shine light on vi­o­lence against women

Truro Daily News - - News - BY ERIC BOURQUE tRiCoUnty Van­GUaRd

Each year in late Novem­ber/ early De­cem­ber, peo­ple are en­cour­aged to dis­play pur­ple rib­bons to help raise aware­ness about vi­o­lence against women. This year, as part of an ini­tia­tive mak­ing its tricounty de­but, peo­ple are in­vited to shine a pur­ple light on the same is­sue dur­ing the month of Novem­ber.

The pur­ple rib­bon cam­paign goes from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 and has been held an­nu­ally for years. This more re­cent ini­tia­tive – billed as Shine a Light on Woman Abuse – was de­vel­oped by the Lon­don Abused Women’s Cen­tre and is be­ing held in south­west­ern Nova Sco­tia for the first time.

“It’s to raise aware­ness, again, about vi­o­lence against women and the ser­vices that are avail­able to them,” said Lisa Newell-Bain, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ju­niper House in Yar­mouth, one of the or­ga­ni­za­tions in­volved in the ef­fort. “It’s for the whole month of Novem­ber and the idea is to light things pur­ple, so it’s call­ing at­ten­tion to the is­sue.”

Ber­nadette MacDon­ald, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Tri-County Women’s Cen­tre, said the abuse of women tends to be pri­vate “so we’re re­ally en­cour­ag­ing the com­mu­nity to make it public by shin­ing a light – a pur­ple light – in their place of em­ploy­ment, in their home en­vi­ron­ment, wher­ever they feel they can do best.”

The colour pur­ple is a sym­bol of courage, sur­vival and hon­our, and has come to sym­bol­ize the fight to end woman abuse.

The Shine a Light cam­paign is quite big in Lon­don, Ont., the city where it orig­i­nated about a half dozen years ago, MacDon­ald said. “The city of Lon­don, there are ar­eas that are just all pur­ple,” she said, “and it’s grow­ing all the time.”

In Canada, on av­er­age, a woman dies ev­ery six days from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence – that is, they die at the hands of some­one they know, MacDon­ald said.

Adam Dol­liver, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of SHYFT Youth Ser­vices — an­other of the groups in­volved in bring­ing the Shine a Light cam­paign to the tri-coun­ties — said the is­sue of vi­o­lence against women is be­ing talked about more, which he hopes will trans­late into steps to ad­dress it.

“Speak­ing from the youth per­spec­tive,” he said, “it’s very im­por­tant for us to be teach­ing our young boys proper ways to con­duct them­selves and tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ac­tions . . . As Ber­nadette was say­ing, it’s such a hid­den thing. We need to shine the light on it and change the at­ti­tudes.”

Re­fer­ring to the re­cent spate of news head­lines about high-pro­file peo­ple ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct, Dol­liver says he hopes this too will help raise aware­ness about all forms of vi­o­lence against women.

“Hope­fully this is a wa­ter­shed mo­ment,” he said.

MacDon­ald notes there are a num­ber of fac­tors at play when it comes to the abuse of women. One is pornog­ra­phy, which is more ac­ces­si­ble — and more vi­o­lent — than ever and which nor­mal­izes vi­o­lence against women. An­other is eco­nom­ics, in­clud­ing a lack of af­ford­able hous­ing. Women in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships may have to choose be­tween liv­ing with the abuse and liv­ing in poverty, MacDon­ald said.

“Women deal­ing with abuse on a daily ba­sis are faced with some hor­ri­ble choices,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.