Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton (left) and family law advocate Kelsey Borgfjord hope Williams Lake residents will wear a purple ribbon this year to raise awareness of domestic violence. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton (left) and family law advocate Kelsey Borgfjord hope Williams Lake residents will wear a purple ribbon this year to raise awareness of domestic violence. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

Purple Ribbon Campaign underway in Williams Lake amid trying year

Pandemic stress resulting in increased domestic violence

Fueled by hatred, misogyny and trans-phobia, there is still a lot of gender-based violence says the Violence Is Preventable Committee in Williams Lake.

This year’s Purple Ribbon Campaign is well-underway and aims to raise awareness on this very topic which has been occurring in situations where it was previously unheard of or with people nobody would have ever expected. This is due, in large part, to increased stress, according to Women’s Contact Society family law advocate Kelsey Borgfjord.

“2020 has been an exceptional year for stress due to the once-in-a-lifetime event of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

“Early on, everyone was panicking due to the fear surrounding the unknown which has since morphed into stress and exhaustion as we enter nearly nine months since the state of emergency was declared.”

Read More: Canada-wide survey of women’s shelters shows abuse more severe during pandemic

Because of the novel coronavirus, there have been a lot of extra challenges for everyone.

“For anyone in a stressful relationship, be it at home, at work, or in the schools, the uncertainty and changes in the way we are supposed to behave when in public can cause additional tension that turns into violence,” noted committee chair Tamara Garreau.

To help support and increase awareness of this phenomenon, Garreau encourages everyone to support the campaign, which runs in Williams Lake from Dec. 1 to Dec. 10, by wearing a purple ribbon, noticing the banners, starting discussions on the topic and speaking out when one sees bullying or gender-based slurs.

As the pandemic presses on, Borgfjord believes it is more important than ever to not only bring awareness to this cause but also mental wellness.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help,” she said, listing the Women’s Contact Society, Cariboo Friendship Society, Canadian Mental Health, Three Corners Health Services Society, RCMP Victim Services, Aboriginal Victim Services and Crisis Line as valuable resources.

Read More: Interior Health expands toll-free line to improve access to community care

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