A candlelight vigil is set for December 6 in downtown Chilliwack to observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada.
The event starts at 5:15 p.m. under the white tent at the Five Corners UFV campus, organized by Ann Davis Transition Society and University of the Fraser Valley.
The date Dec. 6 memorializes the terrible day in 1989 when cold-blooded murders were committed against 14 female engineering students at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, who were gunned down for no other reason than because they were women.
In past years the vigil has been held outside the Chilliwack Museum, the courthouse and at UFV.
It has become a national opportunity to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.
“In Chilliwack we are no different than our neighbours unfortunately,” said Patti MacAhonic, Ann Davis Transition Society executive director. “Our ‘Stopping the Violence’ women’s counselling services waitlists hover between 160 to 200, and our Transition House which shelters women and children fleeing violence houses more than 600 a year.”
They are full most of the time.
“In the last three months we turned away 300 women and children due to lack of beds, this is also happening across the province.
“This means that women and their children are being forced to stay in violent situations and the incidences of violence against women and deaths of women are rising. We need prevention services and public awareness of this crisis situation for women and children.”
The vigil is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
There will be hot chocolate and cookies at the Tuesday, Dec. 6 candlelight vigil as well as counsellors available after the ceremony. Everyone is welcome.