Virtual vigil to be held for 16 Days of Activism

·2 min read

Ellevive will be holding a virtual vigil Sunday, Dec. 6, to raise awareness about violence against women.

The non-profit organization has partnered with the Timmins and Area Women in Crisis, Timmins Family Counselling and the Timmins Native Friendship Centre to participate in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and invite community members to educate themselves on the issue.

The 16 Days of Activism is an annual international campaign taking place from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10. According to Statistics Canada, 79 per cent of victims who experience intimate partner violence are women.

For the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, marked on Dec. 6, Ellevive will post a video of community leaders in Timmins talking about the issue.

Dec. 6 is a day to commemorate 14 women who were killed during a mass shooting at Polytechnique Montréal in 1989.

“It is extremely important for people to be aware of what’s happening. It was 31 years ago that assassination happened but things like that are still happening today,” said Ellevive’s executive director Chantal Mailloux. “It’s important every year to be able to participate and acknowledge what’s happening and what we need to be doing to advance and take steps toward eradicating violence against women.”

In the past, non-profit would hold a vigil at the city hall. This year, it was decided to hold the event virtually because of COVID-19.

“Usually, for the vigil we tend to ask police officers, the mayor and other community leaders to participate,” said the organization's community development co-ordinator Amanda Grenon. “This year, instead of being in-person, we asked them to give us a short clip on why they think it’s important to participate and why it’s important to recognize.”

For the past week, Ellevive has been making Facebook posts encouraging community members to take actions toward eliminating violence against women and promoting local resources that are available for women.

There have been many cases of gender-based violence in Timmins, Grenon said adding that the situation has worsened because of the pandemic and a rise in human trafficking.

“Especially with the prevalence of the human trafficking in the last couple of years, I think this is where we really see a rise,” she said. “And especially with COVID, which is really asking people to isolate themselves in their homes, and oftentimes women and children are going to be isolated with their abusers. The numbers are really alarming.”

During the campaign, Ellevive will also be giving away free toques. For more information about how to enter the draw to win a beanie, visit the 16 Days of Activism Facebook page.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com