November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month.
The provincial Wrapped in Courage Campaign is now underway to support woman’s services and shelters including YWCA Peterborough Haliburton.
Now in its sixth year, the campaign invites all Ontarians to show their support for ending violence against women by wearing a purple scarf.
“It signifies the courage it takes for a woman to leave an abusive relationship,” said Lynn Zimmer, executive director of the YWCA. “The message is the courage of a woman alone is not enough. She needs our help.”
“The staggering rates of violence against women and children should be what sounds the alarm for people in our communities to understand we haven’t reached gender equality in Ontario,” said Marlene Ham, executive director of Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH).
According to OAITH, since 1990, approximately 750 women have been killed by a former or current male partner or other men closely known to them.
There are several high-profile cases in the Peterborough area, including the shooting death of a 70-year-old woman in the Home Depot parking lot last summer and the disappearance of Lise Fredette.
“We think of this as something that’s happening to younger women with children, but it’s happening to older women too,” added Zimmer.
The YMCA Peterborough Haliburton reports high usage of its Crossroads Shelter.
In 2017, 135 women and 57 children stayed at the shelter. Overall, the shelter was full 96 percent of the time. In total, YWCA shelters provided more than 8,000 safe nights for women and their children.
The YWCA has a crisis line that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can call 1-800-461-7656 or text 705-991-0110. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you’re advised to call 911.
“There’s always someone there to talk to. Sometimes, women call because they are in a dire situation and we call the police for them. Sometimes women call and say ‘I think I’m being abused,'” said Zimmer.