Province-wide Wrapped in Courage campaign launched for Woman Abuse Prevention Month

Purchase a purple scarf to show your support

MANITOULIN—November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month and women’s shelters and organizations across the province are encouraging community members to show their support by wearing a purple scarf to let women know that they are not alone.

“This is the fifth year for the Wrapped in Courage campaign organized by the Ontario Association of Interval and Transitional Houses (OAITH),” explained Manitoulin Family Resources Director Marnie Hall Brown. “Locally it is referred to as the ‘purple scarf campaign.’ We sell the scarves for $15 as a fundraiser for the shelter (MFR’s Haven House) and to generate public awareness and support to end violence against women.”

The slogan of the campaign is ‘The courage of a woman alone is not enough,’ encouraging community members to support their local shelters and wear a purple scarf to let women and their children know that they aren’t alone.

“There is also the Moose Hide Campaign where men and boys can wear a moose hide patch on their jacket or lapel to show their support for women,” added Ms. Hall Brown. “The moose hides are free of charge and come with information about the campaign.”

The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of aboriginal and non-aboriginal men who are standing up against violence towards women and children.

Barbara Breathat, bookkeeper at Manitoulin Family Resources, models this year’s purple scarf which can be worn as a scarf or as a shawl. The graphics on the scarf are based on the phrasing from the campaign that ‘the courage of one woman alone is not enough.’

“Wearing the moose hide signifies your commitment to honour, respect and protect the women and children in your life and work together with other men to end violence against women and children,” states moosehidecampaign.ca.

According to a press release from Wrapped in Courage, on average 20 to 30 women a year are murdered in the province of Ontario alone.

“It (violence against women) is the number two reason for calls to the emergency police services,” the release notes. “The United Nations has designated November 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) as the first of six days of Action to eliminate Violence Against Women across the world.”

“Leading up to December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (the anniversary of the l’ École Polytechnique de Montréal murders), there will be a lot of talk about statistics of violence against women,” said Ms. Hall Brown. “Sometimes people think that we have moved pass it, but unfortunately that isn’t the case as the recent incident in Sturgeon Falls has shown (52-year-old Marc Pierre Gauthier of Sturgeon Falls has been charged with the first-degree murder of his partner, 39-year-old Tammy Avery). Violence against women is an issue that is far too real for many families locally.”

The MFR crisis line offers confidential support, referrals, safety planning and information to women 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 705-377-5160 or toll free at 1-800-465-6788.

Men can show their support for women by wearing a moose hide patch.

“Haven House Shelter offers safe emergency accommodation to all self-identified women 16 years of age and older, with or without dependents, who experience or are at risk of experiencing violence and/or abuse,” explains the MFR website. “Women are supported by residential counsellors in developing client-led plans for their future, while also addressing current needs with respect to safety planning and risk assessment, legal and financial issues and counselling support.”

The Naandwechige-Gamig Wikwemikong Health Centre announced earlier this year that it has received $2.3 million from the federal government to build an 8,000 square foot shelter for victims of violence, which will be located on Genevieve Street in Wiikwemkoong.

The facility will have 13 bedrooms and accommodate 17 individuals, with the shelter accepting both men and women in crisis, as well as youth over the age of 16.

“We are still in the planning phase,” said Kerry Assiniwe, Wikwemikong Health Centre communications and media services, of the Wiikwemkoong shelter. “We are looking at starting construction in the spring and in the meantime are working on strategic planning and recruiting and training staff.”

Purple scarves can be purchased or moose hide patches picked up at Manitoulin Family Resources administration building in Mindemoya. MFR will also coordinate drop offs or scarves or patches to Island agencies or businesses. Call 705-377-5160 for more information or visit www.wrappedincourage.ca.