The silhouettes pictured are powerful symbols of the Silent Witness Project, handcrafted by inmates under the guidance of Steve Unger, ADW-Programs at the Ford Mountain Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge (far right). With him are Marianne Brueckert (center) and Jan Bentley (far left) of Victim Services, Hope RCMP. (Adriane Zonta photo)

Hope shines a light on domestic violence

Purple Light Nights kicks off October 1 in Hope

Sharlene Harrison-Hinds

Special to the Standard

October is just around the corner and once again it is time for Domestic Violence Awareness month in Hope and other communities in Canada and the USA. Purple Light Nights of Hope’s annual kick-off will be on Oct.1 at Memorial Park, at 6 p.m. This year’s theme is, “I have a voice,” a concept that creates an opportunity to encourage victims to use their voices and let people know what is happening in their lives and for friends, family and others to let victims know that they are not alone and that help is available to escape, to recover and to heal from the ravages of domestic violence.

One of the many organizations founded to help is VAWIR – Violence Against Women in Relationships. The focus is on women because as a rule, they are the major targets of the aggressors. Although men and children are also victims of various forms of violence, either directly or as witnesses, the life-changing and lasting effects are often the same.

Domestic violence is not new. It has been around for countless generations and was only spoken of in hushed silence and dark corners. That is changing along with society’s reaction and treatment of this criminal behaviour. Violence is all about power – having power over another person, which can be physical, psychological, emotional, financial or social. Domestic violence does not discriminate – anyone of any age, ethnicity or financial standing can become a victim.

The Purple Light Nights Kick-off will take place on Oct. 1st at 6 p.m. in Memorial Park. The hour-long event includes welcomes and blessings from Elder Patricia John representing the aboriginal community and Jeff Kuhn, pastor of the Grace Baptist Church; Heather Stewin will represent the District of Hope and Sgt. Karol Rehdner, RCMP, will offer statistics and insights. This will be followed by a brief Peace Walk led by participants of the Tillicum Centre, Hope Association for Community Living, and a solo performance by Kieth Campbell.

The evening closes with the tree lighting with purple lights. Refreshments will be served after the event, courtesy of the Blue Moose, the Mossy Stump and Tim Horton’s. There will be tents and limited seating available.

Purple Light Nights this October is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone about domestic violence and how important it is for all of us to remember we all have a voice and using it will help shine a light of hope where it is needed – right here in our own community.

For more information, please contact Victim Services in Hope at 604-869-7770.

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