When the Trail bridge is swathed in red on Tuesday

When the Trail bridge is swathed in red on Tuesday

Red lights on Trail bridge; image is worth a thousand words

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women will be honoured in Trail at dusk Tuesday when bridge lights go red.

Often an image is worth a thousand words.

When the Trail bridge is swathed in red on Tuesday, and the river swirls crimson below, local advocates ask passersby to pause a moment and reflect what that powerful scarlet message represents.

Dec. 6 marks the 27th year since 14 young women were murdered in Montreal all they did was go to class at École Polytechnique that fateful day. Their murderer entered the School of Engineering, separated male from female students, then systematically shot 28 people and killed 14 in an attack sometimes referred to as the Montreal massacre.

This is the first year the Victoria Street Bridge will been powered up in December, and that presents a unique opportunity for the Lower Columbia Violence Against Women in Relationships (VAWIR) Committee to give remembrance that day.

“From coast to coast in Canada, community events will be held on Tuesday to recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women,” says committee member Ann Godderis. “As its contribution to the day, the City of Trail will turn the lights to red on the Victoria Street Bridge.”

The lights will be red at dusk, and a Vigil for Murdered and Abused Women will begin with light refreshments at 4:30 p.m. in Bagels and Brew on the Esplanade.

“This social time will be followed at 5 p.m. by a simple commemoration which will give those attending an opportunity to remember and honour women affected by violence and abuse all are welcome to attend,” Godderis added. “Thanks to the City of Trail, glowing red bridge lights will help us remember and inspire action to prevent violence against women.”

Every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. And half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.

Example of red lights on Trail bridge

Across the country each night, over 3491 women and their 2724 children are in shelters trying to escape violence. Hundreds are turned away because the beds are full.

“For these reasons, and many more, it’s important that we not only remember murdered and abused women, but also take time to consider what we can do to prevent and end violence in all forms,” Godderis stated on behalf of Lower Columbia VAWIR.

The Lower Columbia VAWIR Committee is made up of representatives from several agencies and organizations that work with women and children, including the WINS Transition House, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Specialized Victim Services, RCMP Victim Services, Stopping the Violence Counseling (Trail FAIR), Mental Health & Substance Use Services, Trail Mental Health Club House, RCMP, and Adult Probation.

November 30 Update:

VICTORIA The BC Coroners Service has released the report and recommendations of a Death Review Panel into the deaths caused by intimate partner violence (IPV).

The panel, composed of experts from across the spectrum of law enforcement, family-serving agencies, victim services, Aboriginal health and crime prevention, made recommendations in three areas, aimed at: increasing public awareness of intimate partner violence and how best to respond; strengthening safety planning and case management; and enhancing collaboration and information sharing.

The report was released during the World Health Organization-sponsored 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which targets intimate partner violence around the world.

The panel investigated the deaths of 100 persons who died in 75 separate incidents of intimate partner violence from the year 2010 through 2015.

The panel found that few victims of intimate partner violence reach out to disclose what is happening to them and even when they do, friends, family, or even professionals may not understand the risks, nor how they can best help.

The panel also identified a need for more collaborative risk assessment and safety planning, and for improved sharing of risk factor information so courts can properly assess the risk in a situation.

The full text of the report can be found on the B.C. government website, click here: gov.bc.ca.