Light ‘shining’ on domestic violence

Sam Odrowski

November is Women Abuse Prevention Month and Fort Frances is getting involved for a fifth year with the “Shine the Light” campaign.
“We feel it’s really important to bring that to our community,” said Jaquee Loerzel, a community family violence counsellor at Riverside Health Care here.
“Domestic violence is a big issue in our community,” she stressed. “It’s been a big issue for a long time and it continues to be.”
The campaign originated out of the London Abused Women Centre in London, Ont. and communities across the province participate by hosting events, wearing purple, and spreading awareness.
On Nov. 15, local residents are being asked to wear purple to spread awareness and show their support.
Loerzel also is encouraging local businesses and home owners to decorate in purple for the month of November.
She currently has “Shine the Light,” campaign posters for anyone who would like to put some up in their workplace or around town (she can be reached at 274-4807 ext. 1).
Curvy Chick on Scott Street has been getting involved in the campaign with a cupcake fundraiser. Those who send an e-mail order to by Nov. 9 can pick them up for Nov. 14.
“Donations [from the fundraiser] will be going to Riverside Health Care Facilities for sexual assault patient care,” Loerzel noted.
“All the money stays in the community and goes right back into our own hospital here in Fort Frances,” she stressed.
She added it’s a great way to make a direct impact to support victims in the community.
“Every little bit helps. Wearing purple, putting up a poster, talking about it,” Loerzel said.
“The campaign slogan is ‘Break the silence that surrounds violence,’ and it’s really about getting people to start talking,” she explained.
“It is something that’s really prevalent in our community,” Loerzel said.
“And there’s a lot of silence and isolation around domestic violence, so I think it’s important that people just start to talk about it if nothing else.”
The Fort Frances PeeWee ‘AA’ Canadians hockey team, meanwhile, showed its support on Saturday by wearing purple jerseys during their hockey games at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at “The Duke” (Couchiching Arena).
Loerzel is hopeful the month will help to make a difference on the issue of domestic abuse locally.
“We’re just hoping that people can recognize that this month is Women Abuse Awareness Month, and just to be aware that it is something that happens in our community and it happens to our family members, to our co-workers, and to our neighbours,” she remarked.
“It happens all around us so we want people to be really aware that it is a large issue in our community, and it is something that we need to talk about and really need to promote to help put an end to women abuse.”