The Women’s Contact Society is spearheading the annual Purple Ribbon Campaign in the lakecity this week.
“We were looking for different ways for people to speak out and acknowledge that violence is a problem in our communities and society,” executive director Irene Willsie says of the society’s multi-level approach to this year’s program.
The Purple Ribbon Campaign runs Monday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 7 and coincides with the annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women Dec. 6 which remembers the 14 women who were murdered in Montreal on that date in 1989 because they were women.
Monday evening about 80 women were invited to Eloquence Spa to have purple extensions put in their hair as a way to start the conversation about ending violence against women.
People are also being asked to wear the purple ribbons and buttons being distributed free by participating local businesses this week as a way to remember all women who have died violently and as a reminder that thousands of women continue to live with abuse; and to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of violence against women.
“This is an opportunity for men, as well as women to remember and acknowledge violence against women and to support the work to prevent violence against women,” Willsie says.
On Thursday and Friday, service providers from the Cariboo Friendship Society, Women’s Contact Society and Axis Family Resources will be delivering information to students at Lake City Secondary Schools regarding violence against women.
The women’s centre is also selling white scarves with the stop the violence message.
Part of the $20 cost will help to support the women’s centre’s prevention of violence against women program.
According to research Willsie says domestic violence has long-term impacts on communities, the health care system and the economy in general.
“When people are living with violence they are less productive at work because they are distracted,” Willsie says.
“Their lives are often so chaotic that they can’t focus on their work and they may miss work because they are recovering from an assault or anticipating when the next one will happen.”
She says research indicates that violence in the home is especially damaging to the brain development of children ages six and under. Research also indicates that 80 per cent of all violent criminals report a history of experiencing or witnessing violence as a child.