Shining a purple light is a simple way to get people talking about domestic violence.
The 10th annual Purple Light Nights campaign in Chilliwack kicked off with a tree-lighting at the RCMP detachment on Airport Road on Monday night.
“Purple Light Nights is a simple campaign that says something huge — domestic violence has no place in our community,” said Beverly Coles of the The Chilliwack Violence Against Women in Relationships committee.
It’s been a decade since Coles first brought Purple Light Nights (PLN) to Chilliwack from Covington, Washington where it started. The PLN campaign was heartily embraced by her fellow VAWIR members, many of whom work in the field, as well as local businesses and organizations.
“Domestic Violence has no boundaries, it can happen to anyone,” said Coles in her speech at the tree-lighting kickoff event.
Coles coordinates the specialized victim assistance program for Chilliwack Community Services.
“While on vacation recently I went into a fancy store in a fancy neighbourhood,” Coles recounted. There was something purple in the store and somehow the sales woman and I started talking about Purple Light Nights, and its purpose.
“She told me that she was abused by her husband in the 1970s. Once when she was beaten, the police came to her door and suggested that if ‘she did a better job at keeping the house,’ her husband wouldn’t do that.
“There is such a different, positive, response to domestic violence now-a-days.”
Chilliwack is even talking about ways to cast a purple glow throughout the year, to keep those conversations going.
“Our campaign brings light to a dark subject, it is very inexpensive and easy to put in a light bulb so that everyone can participate,” Coles said.
The light bulbs and wristbands are not only conversation-starters but serve as a tribute to those who are suffering or who have suffered abuse or violence at the hands of a partner.
“We hope these purple lights will encourage a dialogue among neighbours and friends about violence in relationships and the devastating harm it does.
“We hope these purple lights inspire us as workers in the field to do the best we can in our work.
“Shine a light and let’s talk about it.”