Women’s Shelter kicks off quieter but important Family Violence Prevention month

·2 min read

The Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society kicked off Family Violence Prevention Month by decorating downtown with purple ribbons.

The shelter is on track to put more than 8,300 feet of ribbon up around Medicine Hat and Redcliff, with 10 schools participating and decorating.

“The month is going to be a bit quieter for us this year with COVID-19 restrictions,” said executive director Natasha Carvalho. “We’re not able to hold as many large gatherings and events, but we’re still trying to make sure people understand that family violence is still out there and it is still occurring.”

Instead of hosting the annual pet walk at Kin Coulee Park this month, the shelter is encouraging people to participate virtually by downloading the World Walking app and tracking their steps.

“We’re going to track everyone’s steps to see how many we get,” said Carvalho. “This is a fun way of doing things with the limitations on gatherings.”

Carvalho says women’s shelters have been busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that some people are in really dangerous situations,” she said. “In the early days of COVID, it was eerily quiet at the shelter. People were stuck at home, they lost their jobs and a lot of people had their kids home all day – that added to a lot of precarious situations.

“Women lost a lot of their ways out of bad situations, like getting groceries or taking the kids to school.

“We started getting calls from people hiding in the bathroom or the garage.

“Once phase one ended, we had 30 people on the first day.”

The women’s shelter is also hosting a series of webinars in November.

“We’re excited about this, it’s going to be a lot of good information,” said Carvalho. “We have links on our site to all of the webinars happening throughout the month.”

Different blocks and areas of the city are able to decorate to participate in the campaign.

More information can be found at http://www.mhwss.ca

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News