By Stephanie Drummond
Feb. 12, 2014
Family violence numbers are still holding strong on the Island, speakers agreed during a walk in remembrance of lives lost to domestic violence in Charlottetown at Province House Feb. 5.
About 100 people gathered for the walk, surprising organizers because of the -16 temperature. One of the walkers was the minister responsible for the Status of Women, Valerie Docherty, who spoke before the walk.
“When I see purple it is a sign of family violence. I do not see it as a pretty colour anymore.”
Feb. 9 to Feb. 15 is P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Week, with Feb. 12, being purple day. The majority of those walking were wearing purple in some way.
UPEI psychology professor, Philip Smith said domestic violence numbers are shocking.
“In 2011, there were 373 cases of imminent partner violence cases.”
Smith expressed a hope for change and applauded those bracing the cold conditions.
“Our walk in silence gives a voice to the people. Our walk is a time of hope.”
Although 373 cases may seem high only a quarter of domestic abuses are reported, said Deputy Police Chief Richard Collins.
“These numbers are high. It’s not going away.”
Collins said the root of the issue is multiple factors and education is needed.
“Some grow up in a home with violence. They think ‘my father abused my mother so it’s OK for me to abuse my girlfriend.”
People should be more aware of their surroundings, speak up for those being abused and get involved to break the cycle, he said.
“It’s everyone’s business.”
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said he hopes his Purple Ribbon Task Force is making a difference in some way to stop family violence.
“There is no way to measure what is not happening.”
He shared hopes of not needing to have a task force in the future.
“It’s a sad day we need to gather for this cause. It’s also a happy day that so many of you are here to support it.”