“Sixteen days of activism against gender violence” is an annual global campaign, from Nov. 25 through Dec. 10. This year’s theme is “From peace in the home to peace in the world.” Gender violence, though often flourishing “under the radar,” is experienced by at least one out of four women, as well as some men, in Canada at sometime in their lives, at all ages from kids to seniors. Focused more on the “home” than the “world” arena, here are some practical suggestions for your personal involvement. Think of your action as “a holiday gift to your community”.
1. Take the pledge: “I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about sexual or relationship violence – toward women, children, or men.” Write it down, sign it, post it on your refrigerator for everyone to see.
2. Acquaint yourself with the goals and scope of our Lower Similkameen’s Proactive Violence Prevention Project (Look up the PVPP page at www.lscss.com). If you don’t have a computer, ask a friend who does to access it for you.
3. Have a conversation with your spouse, parent, children, or friend about the subject.
4. Host a “block party” inviting neighbors to your home for coffee and discussion, to raise awareness. Invite a resource person to be a guest at your party (contact Lower Similkameen Community Services, 499-2352).
5. If you know or suspect that someone you know is being abused by a spouse, consider talking to her (or him). Offer the support of a caring, listening ear, and encourage her to seek help.
6. If you are a male age 16 or older, add your name to the 100+ “Men Together” in the lower Similkameen who are “Saying no to domestic violence.” Sign up through LSCSS or RCMP Victim Services. If you’re already a member, invite a friend or two to join you during these 16 days.
7. If you know or suspect that someone you know is an abuser, challenge him to seek help to change his behavior. A new, confidential, no-cost “Change for Good” resource program is now available throughout the South Okanagan/Similkameen.
8. If you are a spousal, child, or sexual abuser or fear that you may become abusive, seek confidential help to stop your thoughts or actions now! Do not hurt the ones you love.
9. If you are a member of a civic, social, or spiritual organization, ask how your group can address the issue(s) of gender violence.
10. Pass this article on to someone else. Use it as a conversation starter, or make copies and include them in your Christmas card mailings.
Let PVPP know what action(s) you have taken during these 16 Days. Write, email, or call us at Lower Similkameen Community Services (310 Veterans Avenue, Keremeos V0X 1N3, 250-499-2352) or RCMP Victim Services, PO Box 340, Keremeos V0X 1N0, ronald.shonk@rcmp-grc,gc.ca, 250-499-5511). “PVPP: Safety in Our Communities, Safety in Our Homes”!
– Ron Shonk