STEPHENVILLE — As Karen Andrews-Savoury watched young women tying balloons to a sign on Main Street in Stephenville, thoughts surfaced of the women helped by the Bay St. George Women’s Centre.
The event was the third annual Purple Ribbon Campaign sponsored by the Southwestern Coalition to End Violence. Balloons are displayed at a visible location to help create awareness and spread the word of preventing violence against women.
Andrews-Savoury, executive director of the Bay St. George Women’s Centre, said the centre is one place where a woman in an environment where there is violence can get help and support.
She said violence against women takes many forms, and the message she wants to get out is that there is help available for them. Andrews-Savoury said there are women who may have experienced verbal intimidation, including personal insults, but don’t consider it an act of violence. She said any type of violence is a major factor in women’s health and well-being and needs to be eliminated.
She said at the Bay St. George Women’s Centre violence prevention happens when community connections are made, such as collaborative initiatives like the home-assistance resource team, where government and non-profit frontline workers meet once a month to share resources. Another initiative is the Home Start Network, a multi-faceted program incorporating supportive services from local businesses and agencies to provide transportation, household items, and sponsorships for programs for women who are restarting their lives.
The purple balloons are aimed at making the unacceptability of violence against women a topic that can be openly discussed and to encourage all members of the public to become involved in efforts to prevent violence against women at the community level.