Wilmot councillors help raise awareness about domestic abuse

November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month

Wilmot councillors Cheryl Gordijk, Jenn Pfenning and Angie Hallman wore Wrapped In Courage purple scarves in support of the Women's Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. Photo: Ekk Pfenning

November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month, and Wilmot councillors Cheryl Gordijk, Jenn Pfenning and Angie Hallman showed their support at the Nov. 18 council meeting by wearing purple Wrapped In Courage scarves, which are being sold by Women's Crisis Services of Waterloo Region.

The goal of the social awareness campaign is to support women affected by domestic abuse. WCSWR's website says, "The purple scarf is a symbol of the courage it takes a woman to leave an abusive relationship. However, the courage of the woman alone is not enough. It takes the strength of an entire community to end violence against women."

Jennifer Hutton, CEO of WCSWR, said: “We are so grateful to see these councillors wearing their Wrapped in Courage purple scarves. This helps to raise awareness of domestic violence, especially in rural communities. We know women living rurally face different risk factors than women in urban areas. For example, transportation barriers, isolation, and greater likelihood of weapons on the property. All these factors need to be taken into consideration when safety planning.”

“Through our #SheIsYourNeighbour awareness project, we wanted to highlight how domestic violence affects rural women, so we were very excited when Mary Wilhelm, the executive director of Woolwich Counselling Centre, agreed to take part in the #SheIsYourNeighbour storytelling series (Mary's story: www.wcswr.org/she-is-your-neighbour-mary-wilhelm/). In her story, Mary expanded on the challenges that rural women face when it comes to domestic violence. She also explained that initiatives are in place to help these women and to spread the word about the services available to them."

"Supporting women with a visual cue like the purple scarf campaign gives survivors an opportunity to see how many people in the community stand with them and support them," said Hallman. 

"Hopefully, the wearing of my purple scarf will let those who suffer in silence due to fear know that they're not alone. People are here to stand beside them, provide help, or just listen when they're ready to share," said Gordijk.