A special monument honouring Ontario sexual assault survivors as well as missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) was unveiled at Millennium Park in Peterborough on Thursday night.
The pebble mosaic near the Otonabee River is part of the Countdown Public Art Legacy Project, which began in 2016 and features eight pebble mosaics across the province to date.
Liz Stone, administrative director of the Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle, says the monument represents healing.
“If they don’t realize it, I hope that their heart realizes that they’re not here alone,” she said.
Stone said a few of the women who helped build the monument are survivors of sexual assault.
“Whether it was theirs or their families stories — or how they’ve been affected by sexual violence — all of that healing and all of that work helped,” said Stone.
Alisha Fisher, relationship coach at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre in Peterborough, says it’s important to raise awareness about sexual violence in the community.
“It definitely happens right here in Peterborough,” she said. “And providing all of that help is so vitally important. We need to recognize, too, that sexual violence is not something that happens off in big cities. It happens right here in Peterborough as well.”
And while the monument is meant to be a sign of healing and hope, Stone said those who created the piece also want it to encourage critical conversations that will help prevent sexual harm in the future.
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