Announcing Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® 2021 Virtual Walk
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event is usually held on a Sunday in May, to bring awareness to May’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and to start the hard conversations. Once again we’re going to make it a virtual walk!
Want to join in? This year we’re doing a VIRTUAL WALKanytime from May 26 –September 15, 2021, and we’re asking you to do your walk in FUNKY SOCKS, DRESS UP or just throw on your own running shoes, since we can’t get the red shoes to you! But that’s totally optional, we just want you to join in and get out there for that walk in any way that you want! Your pledges can help us to continue to provide the level of service that is so vital to the women we serve, especially during the pandemic!!
Here’s how you can easily join in, and help Women’s House:
Follow these simple steps:
1. Plan a one-mile route anywhere, anytime between May 16 to September 15
2. Register for the walk and collect Pledges
3. When you’re finished collecting Pledges, email your completed Pledge Sheets to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail the hard copies of the Pledge Sheets (along with cheques) to Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey, P.O. Box 760, Kincardine, ON, N2Z 2Z4
Fun Things: a. After you have registered, collected pledges and planned a route/team b. Make a PLACARD to carry and share a message – instructions here to Make Your Own Placard c. Plan to wear FUNKY SOCKS or a team-themed outfit d. Take photos of you and/or your team – send to email@example.com e. Remember walker with the highest pledges wins a PRIZE!
One in every four women is abused. That means someone you know, someone you care about, has been or may become a victim of abuse. It may be your mother, your sister, your friend, one of your employees/co-workers or your daughter. Seventy-five percent of Canadian men feel it is important to speak out against gender based violence. Many are doing so through the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®, not just talking the talk, but walking the walk donning red high-heeled shoes.
Your local women’s shelter needs your help. Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey (WHSBG) is a high-security shelter for abused women and their children. We never close, provide emergency and short term shelter, counseling and support free of charge.
Monies raised from Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® ensure shelter services always remain open 24/7 and free of charge.
The court of public appeal is now open on sexual assault.
That was the title of a letter to the editor from the Women’s House Serving Bruce and Grey that was given to myFM. They say they were compelled to write the letter as more woman come forward with claims of sexual abuse from former CBC radio star Jian Ghomeshi. In the letter, they talk about the fact that abuse doesn’t just exist in the world but in our own backyard here in Grey Bruce. During the first six months of this year the centre has served 441 local women and 57 children along with 3,682 crisis and support related calls. They also wanted to address a question asked by many who wondered why the woman accussing Ghomeshi of abuse didn’t come forward sooner. In the letter they say only 33 cases of abuse out of 1000 are actually reported to police.
The court of public opinion is now open on sexual assault
This week you most likely heard and perhaps even struggled to come to terms with the recent Jian Ghomeshi allegations. It’s been difficult to listen to, read about and process. We’d rather believe that abuse simply does not exist in our world, but at the Women’s House Serving Bruce and Grey (WHSBG) we know all too well that it does. In the first six months of this year we have served 441 women and 57 children, with 3,682 crisis and support related calls.
The news of the Ghomeshi scandal spread quickly throughout social media. As the story progressed it gave us all an opportunity to think about how we as a society deal with matters of sexual abuse. People were talking about the unthinkable and the unspeakable, discussing sexual abuse around water coolers and in lunch rooms. The court of public opinion finally opened up to discuss sexual abuse, something that in our opinion was long overdue. The story falls within Woman Abuse Awareness month in Ontario, making it very timely for us to respond.
There are many different aspects of this story that we could address, however we found the question we read on Facebook and Twitter over and over again most troubling, “Why did these women not report the abuse to police right away?”
Let’s first start with the full picture provided to us by YWCA Canada. Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, 33 are reported to police, 12 have charges laid, 3 lead to a conviction, allowing 997 assailants to walk free.
Why are only 33 cases out of every 1,000 reported to police? Well the short answer is because it is very difficult. Before a trial begins, sometimes years after the abuse took place, a woman lives in fear of her assailant, that he might retaliate. She finds it difficult not to feel ashamed when family, friends and acquaintances react with embarrassment or discomfort. She must deal with judgement, online comments, people questioning why she is doing this from loved ones that simply don’t understand. She is afraid of having her privacy invaded and often times afraid of how this will affect her career. It becomes far more about her than the assailant.
If the case goes to trial, she must withstand gruelling cross-examination with questions probing into the most intimate details of her life, in front of loved ones, if she is lucky enough to have support. It’s humiliating at best and just plain cruel at its worst. She must relive the abuse over and over again to the police, to the Crown Attorney, in pre-trial preparation and in the public eye during cross-examination.
How much simpler would it be to just try and forget it ever happened and walk away? Women do put themselves through this process to make sure their assailant never has an opportunity to abuse another woman. All for that nine percent who are reported and actually get convicted. And yet we still ask why.
At WHSBG we offer a safe shelter for women who have suffered abuse and their children; we counsel by telephone, in groups and in person to help those affected by abuse move on with their lives in a healthy way. We encourage all women to get counselling to help deal with their abuse and will walk with them through their journey whether they choose to remain silent or to press charges. You may call toll free 1-866-578-5566 to access compassionate and caring counselling.
The courage of a woman alone is not enough. During this month of Woman Abuse Awareness, we invite you to wear a purple scarf and show your support for abused women and children across Ontario. Wrapped in Courage purple scarves can be purchased for $15.00 at the following stores: Nine Waves in Lucknow & Kincardine, Curves in Kincardine, I Want That Bag Consignment in Lucknow, Belle of the Boudoir in Port Elgin, TNA Clothing in Paisley (remember they’ve moved next door to former Joannie’s Fashions), MacDonald’s Plus Ladies Wear and Amazing Assets in Walkerton, Suits Us in Hanover, Sisters on Huron and Trends Hair Salon in Southampton. All profits will go towards funding the many programs WHSBG offers to women and children in our community.
We are also participating in the Shine the Light on Women’s Abuse Campaign to raise awareness of woman abuse by shining a purple light in or on your house or business to stand in solidarity with abused women and help them understand that any shame or blame they may feel does not belong to them, but to the perpetrator of their abuse. Let’s turn Bruce and Grey purple this month to show our support to women experiencing abuse.
We at the WHSBG appreciate the support we get from our community. We value your support which enables us to keep doing the good work we do every day to achieve our goal to end abuse.
For more information please visit our website at www.whsbg.on.ca or if in crisis call 519-396-3655 or 911. Services are free for counselling programs, telephone support or to stay in the shelter. On behalf of the Board and Staff of Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey
Chair of the Communications Committee
You, as the parent, are sometimes feeling a little lost when it comes to technology and your children. This PowerPoint presentation was put together by Ottawa Police and will bring you up to speed on how to deal with Sexting, Cyber-Bullying and Online Predators. The safety of your teen is important! Get informed and take control. Click here.