Town shines the light on woman abuse

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Town raises the “Shine the Light” flag and proclaims November woman abuse awareness month.
Standing from left to right are Mayor June Caul, Jacquee Loerzel, community family violence counsellor at Riverside Community Counselling Services,
Lisa Belluz, Manager of Mental Health and Addictions for Riverside Community Counselling Services, a department of Riverside Health Care Facilities and Dave Black, Director of Community Services for Riverside Health Care Facilities.

The Town of Fort Frances raised the purple flag, declaring November as woman abuse awareness and prevention month, and shining the light on the issue.

“Shine the Light” campaign was initiated by the London Abused Women’s Centre in London, Ontario, to increase the awareness and prevention of woman abuse.

acquee Loerzel, community family violence counsellor at Riverside Community Counselling Services, said this initiative has grown to be a global initiative to raise awareness and promote the end of woman abuse.

In 2017, Australia and Sweden adopted the campaign, making it cross national borders.

“The campaign signature colour is purple,” Loerzel said. “And it’s used to symbolize courage, survival and honour. And there’s always a day where we proclaim “Wear Purple Day” and so November 15, is “Wear Purple Day” this year.”

Loerzel said the goal is to raise awareness and promote the end of women abuse. She said safety is paramount when asking for help.

“The first step is to reach out for support if it is safe to do so. Our first concern is that women are safe. And so however they might reach out to whoever is a safe person. Since for them, or a safe organization that they can reach out to. That’s the best first step. Safety is first and foremost.”

According to Statistics Canada done in 2019, every six days, one woman in Canada is killed by an intimate partner.

More than four in 10 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence, according to Statistics Canada.

“In 2018, 44 per cent of women reported experiencing some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes,” the findings report.

There are a couple of local businesses who are supporting the campaign by hosting fundraisers.

Those businesses are Curvy Chick and 807 & Co. Boutique. Curvy Chick will be hosting a purple bracelet fundraiser. This fundraiser will be running on November 12, 13, and 15. The bracelets will be $15 with $5 of every purchase going to charity.

807 & Co. Boutique will be offering an earring campaign. Earrings will be $10 plus HST. Ten dollars of every sale will be donated to either the sexual assault department at Riverside Hospital and Hoshizaki House, the women’s abuse shelter in Dryden, Loerzel said.

“If anybody wants more information on Shine the Light, they’re welcome to call Riverside Community counseling services. And our phone number is 807-274-4807,” Loerzel said.