11th Annual Sexual Abuse/Domestic Violence Prevention Rally

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Photo credit: Fred Harding

For the past eleven years, the Squamish Nation, WVPD & Victims Assistance have brought the community together to raise awareness concerning the reality of domestic violence and sexual abuse through uniting their voices as one against the silence that surrounds these issues.

The rally was formed to provide awareness regarding violence against girls and women in the community. The founders of the rally Doris Paul and Fred Harding wanted to take action and find ways to support young people by providing a safe space to speak out against violence and have resources available to them.

We spoke to Doris Paul and she indicated she didn’t want the rally to only be a march and end once the walk was over. She believed that there needed to be some healing involved in the rally for survivors, family members and friends of those who were victimized and may have been triggered during the rally. Doris imagined a Pow Wow to follow the rally.

The Squamish Nation Pow Wow provided “good medicine to those who lost someone” allowing for healing to take place. For Doris, no one should suffer violence alone and she believes that it’s not just girls and women who suffer violence, affected family members of those young women also carry the pain. Over the years the Pow Wow has provided healing for survivors and family members and those in the community.

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Photo credit: Fred Harding

With Strength, Hope and Sharing

Each year the rally also honours individuals, or organizations that work to end violence and support community members. This year, as with previous years, the rally honours survivors of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence as well as increase awareness of domestic and sexual violence. The Organizers message for 2015: “With the strength, hope & sharing of our experiences we can overcome the barriers and allow the healing to take place. This is not an ethnic or cultural issue, this is a societal issue and we all need to support one another in a good way to stop and/or prevent it from happening to another human being.”

Community organizing together can be powerful and effective: “Community-based responses are effective in addressing domestic and sexual violence against women while urging men to own their role in gender violence prevention…” BWSS, Executive Director, Angela Marie MacDougall who will speak at the rally shares: “Awareness along with action grounded in women’s leadership will get us there. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to join the gathering for this 11th year.”

The rally will begin at 10 a.m., on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Participants will meet at 100 Capilano Road in West Vancouver and march to Ambleside, light refreshments will provided following the march.

For more information contact Detective Fred Harding at fredharding@wvpd.ca or Doris Paul at doris_paul_57@hotmail.com

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Photo credit: Fred Harding