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Raising a flag to end violence against women

Crowd salutes the work of Barrie Women and Children's Shelter

Lynda Muir remembers the first time she had a flag-raising at City Hall for the Women and Children's Shelter of Barrie. 

The executive director of the shelter says it was a small, low key event in 2008. 

"It was me, the Mayor and a couple of outreach workers. Now look at it," she said proudly, gesturing to the crowd that gathered for Friday's flag-raising.

More than a dozen people attended the event to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and November as Women Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

Acting Mayor and Ward 4 Councillor Barry Ward read a proclamation from Mayor Jeff Lehman.

"Approximately thirty-five percent of all women have at one time in their lives, at least once, or several times, experienced physical violence, intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence,"  the proclamation stated. 

The proclamation encouraged people to participate in a campaign to decorate homes and businesses in the colour purple. 

"Purple is the symbol of courage, survival and honour and has come to symbolize the fight to end woman abuse," it read.

Speakers lamented that violence against women still exists in our society.

"It's discouraging," said Councillor Ward.  "In the U.S. someone can admit to sexual abuse and get away with it and still manage to get half the electorate to vote for him. People didn't think it was so bad." 

Representatives of MP Alex Nuttall and MPP Anne Hoggarth also attended and read statements on their behalf.

Both applauded the work of the shelter and its volunteers.

"With the winter weather already coming on strong, November is a great month for our community to unite and support the admirable efforts of the Women and Children’s Centre," Nuttall said. 

Muir noted that representatives from all three levels of government were at the flag-raising and she challenged all politicians to pledge to take action on the issue. 

"It's sad we have to spend another cold November day to recognize violence against women exists," said Muir. "We continue to fight the good fight."


Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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