Hope is joining the international Purple Lights Campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence and highlight resources available throughout the community.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and local organizations and businesses are rallying together to show their support.
A kick-off event will be held Oct. 1 at Hope Memorial Park to emphasize the need for greater understanding and awareness of the issues surrounding domestic violence, and how to help those who may be in need.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will include a First Nations and community blessing, readings, a peace walk, tree lighting and resources.
“Everyone deserves the right to be in a healthy relationship and sometimes we don’t know what healthy relationships look like when you are inside an unhealthy one,” said Jess McBeth, school-based domestic violence prevention worker.
“It’s important we do things like this event to bring awareness of an issue that is present in our community. As community members, we need to know signs of domestic violence so we can help others who may not be able to help themselves.”
The campaign, which originated in Covington, Wash., encourages public, private and non-profit entities to raise awareness of the issue by embracing the colour purple – the symbolic hue for domestic violence awareness – by shining purple lights on buildings or other structures in their community, wearing purple or sponsoring awareness events.
Businesses across from Hope Memorial Park will be displaying purple light bulb decals and posters in their storefronts to raise awareness and generate discussion.
In addition, businesses and community members are encouraged to wear purple on Oct. 1, create purple window displays or shine a purple light in their store front or home.
“Domestic violence affects the entire community, not just the immediate victim,” said Jodi McBride, executive director of Read Right Society, a legal services society community partner.
“Its impact has a ripple effect that seeps into neighborhoods, the workplace, schools, parenting, friendships and more. As community members, we need to be aware and know how to listen and how to help.”
From January to August 2014, 22 domestic violence murders and four attempted murders have occurred in B.C. alone.
These are extreme incidents, yet domestic violence is not always overt, culminating in murder/attempted murder.
Domestic violence can be harming to you or your children, and has many faces:
• Physical: When someone stops you from leaving your home, breaks your things, threatens or hurts you with a weapon or object, shoves, slaps, chokes, punches or kicks you.
• Emotional or verbal: When someone embarrasses you, yells at you, insults you, constantly criticizes and blames you, doesn’t let you contact friends or family, threatens to have you deported, or accuses you of flirting with others.
• Psychological: When someone decides what you can do or know about, where you can go, what you can see, follows or watches you or monitors your phone calls, tries to confuse you or questions your memory, threatens to hurt you, your children or pet.
• Sexual abuse: When someone forces you to have sex, perform acts that makes you uncomfortable or hurts/injures you sexually without permission.
• Financial abuse: When someone makes all the household money decisions and doesn’t let you have money or use bank accounts or credit cards, refuses to let you get a job or makes you lose your job, or runs up debt in your name.
Prevention is the most effective tool to address the long-standing issues of domestic violence and it is important to put effort into creating healthy relationships and strong families.
Resources and services are available throughout the community including: Hope/Boston Bar RCMP Victim Services (604-869-7770), Hope & Area Transition Society (604-869-5111), Read Right Society (604-860-0510), Ann Davis Counselling Services (604-869-3201), and the Jean Scott Transition House (604-869-5191).
What can you do to help?
• Join the Oct. 1 kickoff event
• Wear purple on Oct. 1
• Shine a purple light (bulbs are available for a $2 donation at Hope Library, Hope RCMP detachment,
Hope municipal hall, Free Rein Associates)
• Know the signs of domestic violence and don’t be afraid to offer a listening ear
• Become familiar with local resources and help others, who may be in danger, be aware of supports
and services available in the community