The London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) says it’s received more than double the usual number of calls for help since launching its Shine The Light campaign at the start of the month.
The annual awareness initiative aims to put a spotlight on gendered violence while using the colour purple to show women they’re supported and believed.
Fabienne Haller, the shelter’s fund development co-ordinator, told 980 CFPL in the past two weeks they’ve received 120 calls from women asking for help, compared to the usual 25-50 calls in that time frame.
“This is incredible, this has not happened before. This is significant,” she explained.
Although there’s usually a surge in calls throughout their awareness campaign, Haller said this is the first time it’s been so noticeable that staff organized a meeting to talk about it.
“The increase in service demand is very much related to women feeling empowered, and feeling encouraged and somewhat safe to reach out for help,” she said, noting things that have happened over the past few years locally, nationally, and internationally.
“I think women, and some men, are willing to tackle this and are willing to talk about women abuse on a more public platform.”
Thursday marks the middle of the month-long campaign, and it’s also Wear People Day. The London Abused Women’s Centre urges people to decorate businesses, schools, and homes with purple lights throughout the month, but there’s a special emphasis on wearing purple on Nov. 15.
Haller says donning purple clothing or swag sends a clear message to women in the community experiencing violence that they’re supported, and believed.
But she encourages people sporting purple swag to do some self-reflection.
“Every time you chose to support a cause, such as Wear Purple Day, I hope that you will give some thought to why you are wearing purple.”
Shine The Light officially kicked off Nov. 1 with a lighting of the Tree Of Hope in Victoria Park. This year’s honorees, Shainee Chalk and Maddison Fraser, were announced Oct. 19. Chalk is a victim of revenge porn, while Fraser was lured into the sex trade as a teen, and died in a car crash with a man believed to be a john.
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