Beverly Coles (left) and Shelley Bolan are launching Purple Light Nights on Oct. 4.

Beverly Coles (left) and Shelley Bolan are launching Purple Light Nights on Oct. 4.

Shining a purple light into the night

Domestic violence is completely unacceptable in Chilliwack — or anywhere else. That's the message of Purple Light Nights, kicking off next week.

Domestic violence is completely unacceptable in Chilliwack — or anywhere else.

That’s the key message of the Purple Light Nights campaign, kicking off next week.

“We want everyone to put a purple light up in their homes or businesses to say that domestic violence has no place in our community,” said Beverly Coles, coordinator of the Specialized Victim Assistance program at Chilliwack Community Services.

Purple Light Nights started in Washington State about four years ago as a colourful and effective way to shed light on the struggle against family violence.

“We were the first in Canada to join the effort, and we brought Purple Light Nights across the border to Chilliwack and beyond,” Coles said.

The campaign is now held here every October during Domestic Violence Awareness month.

It’s the third year of the local effort by staff from CCS Specialized Victim Assistance and the Ann Davis Transition Society.

“We were actually running out of bulbs last year,” said Shelley Bolan, manager of the transition house for Ann Davis Transition Services. “We had to order more.”

Last year there were 350 purple light bulbs available, and this year that number has increased to 500 to make sure there are enough for everyone.

“This says to me that people in Chilliwack are getting it,” Bolan added. “They want to be part of this community-wide statement.”

As a result of generous donations received by local organizers in 2010, purple light bulbs are again being made available at several locations in Chilliwack.

Purple was chosen to acknowledge the devastating impact of domestic violence, remembering and honouring survivors and those who lost their lives to it.

From October 1 to 31, purple lights will also be a beacon of hope.

Statistics show that half of Canadian women suffered an incident of physical or sexual violence during their adult lives, and only one in five victims actually reports the abuse.

“Your light will support those who have survived domestic violence and help give hope to those still living with abuse,” said April Goertzen, a Chilliwack social worker.

Domestic violence is known to cross all social, economic and cultural boundaries.

“Every woman has the right to live free from violence and abuse in her home, workplace and community,” she said.

Strings of purple lights or bulbs can be purchased at Logan’s Home Hardware in Chilliwack, and individual bulbs will be available by donation at: Ann Davis Transition Society offices, Chilliwack Community Services, Chilliwack Health Unit, Ken’s Tire and Wheel, Mary’s Uniforms, Nuggets Used Books, Vedder Home Hardware, Video Tonite, and City Hall. The lights can go on porches of residents’ homes, and strings can be hung in windows or strung on trees.

A tree lighting ceremony in Chilliwack for Purple Light Nights is set for Tuesday, Oct. 4 outside city hall at 6:30 p.m.

For more go to http://purplelightnights.org.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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