Feature Story                                                                                                     Thursday December 8, 2011


Remembering Victims of Violence

Candlelight vigil draws a small group of citizens

Staff/Voice photos


A small group of women gathered at the courthouse Tuesday for a vigil to honour the 14 women who were gunned down 22-years ago.

hey were killed only because they were women.

As part of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a small handful of people, including representatives and board members of the Ann Davis Transition Society gathered on the steps of the Chilliwack courthouse Tuesday evening for a candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary of the massacre of 14 women at the l'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. 

Each person was given a piece of paper with the name of one of the 14 women on it who died in the massacre and they took turns reading out the names before blowing out their candle.

Reference was made also to the Highway of Tears near Prince George and the missing women associated with the Robert Pickton case.

"There's still too much violence going on which is why we still have the Ann Davis Transition Society going. I wish we could shut the door. We want to get the word out that there are safe places for women," said one organiser.

The Society isn't there solely for women, they also assist men with anger management courses and those who have issues dealing with being abused.

"We not only have the safe house for women and children, but we have marvelous councellors that do a wide range of councelling for men, for children who witness abuse, for children who are caught in the middle, couples councelling, men's programs; anger management and one for abuse and the community doesn't know that, they think of us as a transition house, period. We're more than that much more than that," she said.

Sangeeta Karan, co-coordinator for adult day programs at the Transition House in Chilliwack, told the Voice that they operate a 24-hour Crisis Line operated manned by volunteers and she stressed how important it is for women to stand up to abuse and hopes that by reading about the vigil, they might come forward and take the first step toward effecting positive change in their lives.

"We support women and children fleeing any sort of abusive situation whether it's physical violence, emotional abuse at times when there is a housing need, they may not necessarily be fleeing some sort of violence, but they have no place to go, so we provide them with shelter, support, councelling, connections into the community and sometimes just an ear to listen," said Karan.

Karan also talked about raising money for the Society and mentioned "Jean Days" as one of the creative ways they do that.

"We have 'Jean Days' every month and we have to pay a dollar and we used to sponsor families but I actually asked them to send it to the Ann Davis Transition Society this year.

"With Ann Davis, we honour men and children as well, so there's definitely a need out there so let's not forget them, added Karan.

If you or someone you know needs help or just wants to talk, the Crisis Centre operates 24-hours call: 604-792-3116

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