The Women’s Contact Society and the Williams Lake Violence Awareness and Prevention Committee are stepping up their efforts this year to end violence against women in our community.
More than 25 people including a couple of men and Mayor Kerry Cook have had purple streaks put in their hair to bring attention to the problem.
As part of the information campaign Women’s Centre executive director Irene Willsie says information posters have been placed in strategic locations around the city.
Information cards, with purple ribbon pins attached have also been distributed to 50 retail outlets and service agencies in the community.
“We encourage people to pick up and wear a ribbon and pass on the message to family, friends, and colleagues,” Willsie says.
The message on the card with the ribbon reads in part that: “Everyone must speak out against violence, silence sends a message of support to the offender. Don’t be a bystander.”
The purple ribbons are free — no donations required.
“We don’t want to put any barriers out there. We want people to pick up a ribbon and wear it,” Willsie says.
Both men and women are encouraged to participate in the discussion.
“Violence against women is not just a women’s issue,” Willsie says.
“It is a societal issue. We know that when children witness violence it has a very negative impact on their whole lives — education, health, emotional development.”
She notes that 80 per cent of all violent criminals report a history of experiencing or witnessing violence as a child.
The lakecity’s purple ribbon campaign coincides with Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women coming up Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Dec. 6, 1989 is the day 14 women were murdered at L’Ecole Polytechnique, simply because they were women.
In recognition of this day, Willsie says the lakecity’s Violence Awareness and Prevention Committee will hold a free luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 6 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Rick Hansen room at City Hall.
There will be soup, sandwiches, coffee and tea, plus guest speakers and a prayer to remember and honour those women who are or were victims of violence.
The committee invites the community to come out and commemorate this day together, she says.
It is also a day in which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
This day provides the opportunity to reflect on the existence of violence in our own lives. It is also a way that we can think about the role we play and help break the cycle of violence.
Between Nov. 28 and Dec. 10 she says the United Nations recognizes 16 days of international efforts to end violence against women around the world.
She says this is the Women’s Contact Society’s fifth year in coordinating awareness about violence against women and they wanted to do a little more than usual to raise awareness and step up conversation on how to end violence against women in our community.