Kerri-Anne Barbosa, a student in the educational assistant/community support worker program at North Island College, helps to install purple ribbons along Stamp Avenue Friday, part of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

Ribbons reflect marked rise in reporting

Violent incidents reported to Port Alberni RCMP triple in three years

Mike Youds

Special to the News

337 purple ribbons flutter in the wind along Stamp Avenue, a moving reminder that gender-based violence hits close to home.

Representing reported incidents of violence against youth and women in the Valley over the past year, the number has more than tripled since 2015.

READ: Purple ribbons aim to bring awareness

Ellen Frood, the executive director of Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS), believes the numbers reflect a trend in violence reporting rather than an increase in violence.

“What I’m seeing is that more people are willing to come forward and report violence to the RCMP and that means they’re being supported,” Frood said, listing a range of community services available to victims of violence.

Each year, ACAWS organizes local activism as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign that starts Nov. 26 and continues to Dec. 10, Human Rights Day. Half a dozen students and instructors in the educational assistant/community support worker program at North Island College weathered wind and rain Friday morning to plant the ribbons on stakes along the boulevard.

While the campaign is global in scope, the idea of the ribbons is to remind people that gender-based violence is also a local issue that destroys families and tears at the fabric of communities, Frood said.

Kelly Johnsen, an instructor with the support worker program, said the street-level activism ties into classroom instruction around gender-based violence.

“It’s something we’ve been thinking about as a class for several weeks,” she said.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence have been observed for almost three decades, but they come this year with additional publicity fuelled by the #MeToo movement over the past month. Sparked by celebrity and high-profile cases of sexual harassment, the movement is helping to encourage more reporting of violence, Frood said.

“What it does, it creates another layer of awareness,” she said. “It’s a pretty brave thing to step forward and tell your story.”

A new educational video produced by ACAWS explains the judicial process and is designed to overcome some of the intimidation factor around reporting on violence. The film, Witness, will premiere this week at an invitation-only screening hosted by students in the college program. They also host a college screening and raise funds as part of their activism.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

Port Alberni writer featured at Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Vicki Drybrough’s poetry and short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals

Tour de Rock alumni ride through Port Alberni

Event was scaled down this year in response to COVID-19

Third brewery on the way for Port Alberni

Alberni Brewing Company hopes to open in early 2021

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Most Read