SHELBURNE COUNTY, N.S. – The campaign to Shine A Light on Women Abuse was taken to new heights with the lighting of the Seal Island Light Museum in Barrington on Dec. 5.
Led by the Municipality of Barrington and the Cape Sable Historical Society, a small group gathered for the lighting ceremony, including Argyle Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont, Barrington Municipal Warden Eddie Nickerson, Juniper House representative Melissa Reid and Cape Sable Historical Society president Stephanie Ilse.
“Our council feels it’s very unfortunate that in 2017 there has to be campaigns to raise awareness of men’s violence against women,” said Warden Nickerson. “We also recognize that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that violence against women ends.”
Warden Nickerson said by lighting the historic lens on the eve of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, municipal council hoped to raise awareness of the issue in the community.
“It is sad in away we have to continue to talk about this especially so many years after École Polytechnique,” added d’Entremont. “We as community members need to work with our loved ones, our boys, our families to make sure they understand how wrong violence is and especially violence against women.
“I was sort of thinking today where does this all come from. Every day on the news we see something happening with our friends to the south of us,” he said. “Violence is something very prevalent in our society and we need to do our best as community members to continue to make sure people understand what that is.”
The Shine the Light on Woman Abuse Campaign was initiated seven years ago by the London (Ontario) Abused Women’s Shelter by encouraging local residents and business owners to decorate with or display the colour purple through the month of November. The campaign was initiated in the tri-counties for the first time this year by the Tri-Counties Women’s Center, SHYFT Youth Services and Juniper House.
“My hope is that this light will be a reminder for us to remember those 14 young who lost their lives and were killed and more importantly to be an inspiration for women in the community who are currently or have in the past experienced abuse,” said Reid, adding the light also lets victims of abuse “know that the community can come together, and work together and that we all truly want to be able to provide them with support.”
A Dec. 7 vigil was held in Shelburne, aimed at giving a voice to all women who have been silenced by domestic violence and other types of violence.
The timing of the vigil, said organizers, was poignant – coinciding around the time that vigils were held throughout the country on Dec. 6 to commemorate the 14 women killed at École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. And it came at a time when much attention is being focused on sexual harassment and sexual abuse with many who have been victimized taking a stand and speaking out.
This vigil aimed to bring hope and healing, and to call for an end to all forms of violence against women and girls.
The Mother’s Union, Parish of Christ Church in Shelburne, which is sponsoring the event. The vigil also included Silent Witness Nova Scotia. The Society for Silent Witness Nova Scotia is a group of organizations and individuals who work together to give back the voices to those who have lost their lives to domestic violence. The society’s website notes that between 1990 and 2016, there were 51 women in Nova Scotia who lost their lives to violence at the hands of their intimate partners. The society has life-size red silhouettes representing the women whose lives were ended.
On average a woman dies every six days in Canada from domestic violence at the hands of someone they know.
(WITH FILES FROM TINA COMEAU)