(Trail Times file photo)

Trail bridge goes red on Thursday to honour annual vigil

Window Display and Annual Vigil for Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women

For the month of November and up until Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, there is heightened publicity and discussion, both locally and globally, focused on the ongoing and persistent issue of violence against women.

In Trail, a local committee dedicated to ending violence against women was grateful for the use of the Mills Office Supplies display window to help residents remember Canada’s murdered and missing indigenous women as well as many other victims, including the 14 women students massacred in Montreal 30 years ago.

“The red dresses and roses are powerful symbols of the many women who have died violently,” says Ann Godderis, an outreach and education advocate from WINS Transition House.

“And they symbolize the need for deep, systemic changes in our society to bring about equality and justice.”

Though the window display comes down today, the observance will continue on Thursday, Dec. 5, with all welcome to take part in the annual Vigil to End Violence Against Women.

The event will be held in the Bridge View Café, located at 1290 Esplanade Ave.(FortisBC building), from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Free coffee and goodies will be served, followed by the vigil at 5 p.m.

“This simple commemoration will help participants remember and honour the many women in our country and the world who have been affected by violence and abuse,” Godderis said.

“To help mark the occasion, the City of Trail will use red lights on the Victoria Street Bridge.”

The vigil marks the 30th anniversary of a horrific crime that took place in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989, when a man entered the School of Engineering at École Polytechnique and systematically murdered 14 young women.

In 1991, the Parliament of Canada declared a Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women.

Because of logistical reasons, the vigil in Trail will take place the evening before the actual anniversary.

Three decades after this shocking event, the statistics and headlines continue to reflect the fact that violence against women is still an unresolved, serious issue, with an average of one woman killed every six days in Canada.

Every night over 3,400 women and their 2,700+ children are in shelters trying to escape violence.

Hundreds are turned away because there is no room.

“For these reasons, and more, it’s important to not only remember the affected women but also take time to consider what each can do to help end abuse of women in all forms,” Godderis said.

“Ideas for positive action will form part of the vigil ceremony.”

Vigil sponsor, the Trail Interagency VAWIR (Violence Against Women in Relationships) Committee, is made up of representatives from several local organizations working with women and children.

Members come from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, RCMP Victim Services, Mental Health and Substance Use Services, RCMP, Adult Probation and Trail FAIR’s Stopping the Violence Counseling, WINS Transition House and Specialized Victim Services programs.

For more information about the vigil or about services and resources available to women threatened by violence and abuse, call Trail FAIR during office hours: 250.364.2326.

Women affected by intimate partner abuse or otherwise concerned about their safety are welcome to call the WINS Transition House any time of the day or night at 250.364.1543.

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