Contributed by Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society
While the #MeToo movement has sparked unprecedented awareness around sexual assault and harassment, women and girls in Canada continue to experience gender-based violence in a multitude of forms. An estimated 67% of Canadians know a woman who has experience physical or sexual abuse — a number that continues to rise. Statistics Canada suggest domestic violence is now on the rise after an eight-year decline, and a report published in January 2019 suggests a woman or girl is killed every 2.5 days in Canada, while Indigenous women are killed at six times the rate of non-indigenous women. Last year alone, 148 women were killed in Canada, with half of all violence against women coming from intimate partners.
In Revelstoke, it can be easy to disassociate ourselves from the reality of urban centres and national statistics, yet numerous incidents of assaults against women within 200 kilometres tell a different story. In recent years, incidents such as the death of Arlene Westervelt in Okanagan Lake, who drowned while canoeing with her husband who has now been charged with second-degree murder, and the numerous assaults and murders of women in the Okanagan and southern B.C. which continue to be investigated. The remains of a missing woman, 18-year-old Traci Genereaux, were found on a nearby farm in Silver Creek. The farm is owned by the father of Curtis Wayne Sagmoen, who was then charged with six offences in relationship to an incident involving a sex trade worker.
Why Prevention Week?
In an effort to raise awareness, encourage conversation and help shift perspectives and attitudes around violence against women, the NDP government in 1995 decided to declare one week in April (April 14–21, 2019) as Prevention of Violence Against Women Week in British Columbia. “Whereas women have the right to feel safe and live free from violence, to reach their full potential and to contribute fully to their family and society” — official proclamation by the Province of British Columbia.
Locally, the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society will be hosting events starting April 14 to honour Prevention Week 2019. These events are open to all women in the community, free or by donation, and will be held at the new events space in Selkirk Hall, at 103 Second Street East (next to Dose).
Monday April 14 Watercolour painting 3:30–5 p.m. – Selkirk Hall
Tuesday April 15 Yoga and Meditation 4:00–5:00 p.m. – Selkirk Hall
Thursday, April 18 – Organized march 12 p.m. Women, men and children are invited to march with us- starting at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre to Grizzly Plaza. Pizza and refreshments will be provided by the Aboriginal Friendship Society at the plaza.
Women’s Shelter staff will also be at the high school on April 17 at 11:30 a.m. speak to student’s about prevention of violence, women who inspire them, and create paper chains for the march on the 18th.
Everyone is invited to take a stand on violence against women and join the march, which will be escorted by the RCMP, and enjoy refreshments at the plaza.
For more information:
Lisa Cyr, Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society, Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org