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Wear a white ribbon; pause to remember as Dec. 6 nears

Skills Centre with Trail Area VAWIR hosting vigil at Bridge View Cafe
“Violence against women and girls affects us all, and is present in all of our communities,” says Sgt. Mike Wicentowich. “Choosing to stand up against this violence is the first step in preventing it from happening.”

Members of Trail Area VAWIR (Violence Against Women in Relationships) will be at the home game Friday night, asking Smoke Eater fans to pin a white ribbon to their lapel.

With Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women nearing, the White Ribbon Campaign is a simple but powerful way to recognize the profound weight of Dec. 6.

White ribbons remind communities to pause, to remember all women affected by violence and to reflect on what can be done to help end that violence.

Besides white ribbon distribution, an insightful window display is up at Mills Office Productivity in recognition of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, a message of awareness which began Nov. 25 and runs until Dec. 10.

As well, the Skills Centre is collaborating with Trail Area VAWIR for the annual Dec. 6 vigil at the Bridge View Cafe.

These community initiatives are meant to give locals the opportunity to reflect and learn how they can help end violence and abuse directed at individuals because of their sex, gender, gender identity, and gender expression.

The main focus this year is learning and taking action to end violence experienced by women and girls.

“Trail Area VAWIR committee members hope all these activities will offer opportunities to remember those women affected by violence and to reflect on what individuals and the community can do to help create a culture of respect that would end abuse of women in all forms,” the committee says.

“Possible actions might include something as simple as refusing to laugh at sexist jokes, making sure someone gets home safely, learning about and supporting local anti-violence services or wearing a white ribbon and telling others what it signifies.”

A key partnership in carrying this message over the 16 days, and daily throughout the year, is local law enforcement and RCMP victim services.

“As the police leader in the community, I want us to work together in eliminating and reducing violence and sexual violence against women by being knowledgeable about this issue, knowing what we can do in our daily lives to recognize it, and taking action when required,” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich told the Trail Times.

The sergeant says this is not a problem that happens “out there somewhere.”

“Violence against women and girls affects us all, and is present in all of our communities,” he says. “Choosing to stand up against this violence is the first step in preventing it from happening.“

Help is available to anyone experiencing violence. Trail and Greater District RCMP are working with advocates to reduce the barriers when reporting, whenever a victim is ready to come forward.

“We are prepared to work with any victim who can decide on how they want to proceed, and support them through RCMP Victim Services, and other community partners,” explains Wicentowich.

The victim can report directly to police, through a third party, or can attend the hospital to complete a forensic sexual assault examination kit without having to contact the police.

“We are here to listen and support, and move forward when victims are ready,” Wicentowich adds.

“We cannot prevent all future tragedies but we want to try as hard as possible to prevent this from ever happening again.”

Trail Area VAWIR committee is made up of representatives from several organizations working with women and children affected by violence. Those include: RCMP Victim Services, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, RCMP detachment, Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Adult Probation and Trail FAIR’s Stopping the Violence Counselling, WINS Transition House, PEACE and Community Based Victim Services programs.

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Sheri Regnier

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