This year, Prevention of Violence Against Women Week will take on a different spin as the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society explores new ways to spread awareness and unite the community, in light of the new COVID-19 restrictions.
In the past, the society has partnered with local businesses to promote prevention week through free talks, classes and activities along with an annual Women’s March.
Due to social distancing measures, the shelter’s outreach coordinators have modified their programs in order to continue with weekly activities, through virtual means.
This year’s events include yoga (via Zoom) on Tuesday, April 14 from 4-5 p.m., and a vision board making workshop on Thursday, April 16 from 4-5:30 p.m. The men’s group will also be meeting on Wednesday and Friday this week, from 4:30-6 p.m.
Activities are free open to the public throughout the week, and the only requirement is a working phone or computer. The program is also open to any existing participants wanting, and is always looking for new members to join Moving Forward, Children are also welcome to attend the events.
Since 1995, the Government of BC has dedicated one week in April to the Prevention of Violence Against Women, as “a movement to encourage the public to express its commitment to reducing and preventing violence against women, as well as to raise awareness about the unacceptability of violence against women, youth and children in our communities.”
Safety information and resources
As part of its Prevention Week outreach, the shelter hopes to spread awareness on safety during this time, show support to the local community, and provide relevant information, as the world migrates towards the digital. The COVID-19 pandemic has inadvertently increased the risk of many different types of abuse to flourish, from psychological, physical, cyber, and more.
The RCMP has warned British Columbians to be conscious about what they are posting online, and to be aware of scams, cyber criminals, and fraudulent activity that has been circulating through the province. The RCMP has stated “do not respond to unsolicited email, texts or phone calls. Don’t click on any links or give any information about yourself”.
The Canadian Centre of Cyber Security has also noted increased reports of “malicious online actors” using COVID-19 in phishing and malware scams, making it more important than ever to ensure that information on COVID-19 is coming from credible sources such as the provincial and federal government and the BC Centre for Disease Control. The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce also has a resource list, as well as revelstokelife.ca.
While we are all feeling the effects of COVID-19, populations that are already vulnerable could be even more susceptible to abuse and/or neglect, due to the withdrawal of usual social support systems. The Revelstoke Women’s Shelter, Community Response Network and the Revelstoke Hospice Society have teamed up with local businesses and volunteers to offer a variety of support to this community.
If you or someone you know might appreciate some additional emotional support or help with obtaining essential goods and services, please contact one of the shelter’s outreach coordinators (listed above) or Lisa Cyr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reach the Women’s Shelter Society’s 24/7 crisis line, call 250-837-1111.