Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, is proclaiming November as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and urging Manitobans to speak out against abuse.
“As we reflect on this issue, I’m sure most of us can think of family members, friends or co-workers who have dealt with domestic violence,” Squires said in a statement to the Manitoba legislature. “We know the most dangerous time for individuals experiencing domestic violence is when one partner decides to leave the other. I urge all of us to reach out to the people around us and check on each other. If we know of people who are using abusive behaviour, reach out to them too. Let them know you are concerned, encourage them to seek help. Don’t remain silent.”
The minister announced up to $45,000 to support the following training and awareness projects:
• up to $20,000 for Wahbung Abinoonjiiag to hold a day of training for service providers in the family violence sector working with clients dealing with addictions;
• $15,000 to the Canadian Red Cross’s two-day symposium to empower participants to facilitate the Healthy Youth Relationships program at their schools;
• $5,000 to Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak to add a social media component to the Voices against Sexual Violence campaign, which targets northern communities with high rates of sexual violence and includes posters and videos to encourage community members to speak up against sexual violence; and
• $5,000 to Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. to develop a brochure to raise awareness of third-party reporting, a new option for survivors of sexual violence to report their case anonymously to police through a third-party, community-based victim services agency.
“This training will engage service providers to learn and apply new skills when working with community members who are living with addictions,” said Dana Arabe, executive director of Wahbung Abinoonjiiag Inc. “Participants will learn new ways of being and doing through an Indigenous lens, which will improve services within their organizations while promoting a safe and healthy community.”
In 2018-19, the Family Violence Prevention Program will provide $10.7 million to 33 community-based programs. Squires commended all agencies that provide support to women, men and children in Manitoba affected by family violence.
Starting Nov. 25, the province will join the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign, which is themed ‘End Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work’. As part of the 16 Days campaign, the United Nation’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign will use #HearMeToo on social media to stand in solidarity with survivor advocates and women’s human rights defenders working to prevent and end violence against women and girls.
“We all have a responsibility to end violence,” said Squires. “We must continue to voice that it is not acceptable or tolerated in our society. It is our responsibility to create an environment where survivors are supported as they rebuild their lives.”
The minister urged Manitobans to start conversations with family and friends, listen to those who may be hurting and share information on resources, such as www.gov.mb.ca/stoptheviolence/index.html and www.gov.mb.ca/fs/fvpp/index.html.