For 52 women, their deaths came at the hands of their intimate partners, forever silencing their voices. The Pictou County Chapter of Silent Witness Nova Scotia (SWNSPC) believes it is time to end their silence.
The chapter is made up of a group of individuals working together to raise the voices of women who have lost their lives at the hands of their intimate partners. Through community involvement and support, the Pictou County Chapter is creating freestanding, life-size, red wooden silhouettes, each one bearing the name of a Pictou County woman whose life ended violently as a result of domestic violence.
The Pictou County chapter of the SWNS will host a dedication ceremony as well as the annual Walk to Remember on Oct 21st (rain date Oct. 22nd).
The Pictou County chapter is also working in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women to bring Barb’s Bench program to the county. Barb’s Bench is a program created in memory of Barbara Baillie, a woman whose life ended in violence on Oct. 19th, 1990. Her children placed the initial purple bench in her memory.
Barb's Bench commemorates all women who have been silenced by violence. The benches are placed for all to celebrate the lives of these women; raise awareness of domestic violence; and encourage others at risk, and those who love them, to reach out and seek assistance.
The idea of Barb’s Bench was expanded with the help of Silent Witness Nova Scotia and the NS Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
These organizations have committed to place three benches throughout the province – a number that includes the bench being placed in Pictou County. This bench will honour all women who have lost their lives to domestic violence.
The Pictou County chapter of SWNS does not have source funding, and relies solely upon donations – which is why the Walk to Remember is an important fundraiser for them.
Anyone can join the walk by signing up as an individual or as a team.
Online registration and donations can be sent to https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-society-for-silent-witness-nova-scotia/bench2017/.
The bench dedication ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. at Glasgow Square Theatre followed by the Walk to Remember. The walk will begin at the Glasgow Square Gazebo, proceed across the George St. Bridge and end at the Kinsmen Lookoff, Terrace Street, New Glasgow.
The trail will be lined with red silhouettes as a reminder of those women who have lost their lives to domestic violence. Participants can join the walk anytime between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Glasgow Square Gazebo.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/silentwitnesspc, or to learn more about Silent Witness Nova Scotia’s programs, visit the coalition’s website at www.silentwitnessnovascotia.ca.
Domestic Homicide in Canada
Between 1991 and 2010 in Canada, 1,249 women were victims of intimate partner homicide. Although each woman has her own unique story, their deaths – together – reveal many common factors:
• Home is not a safe haven, nor is the workplace;
• Occurs in all parts of the province, both urban and rural;
• In all ages, backgrounds and income levels;
• Occurs at all levels of intimate involvement;
• Ending a relationship does not end the risk of violence;
• Women leaving a violent relationship are often stalked;
• Younger women are more at risk of being killed by ex-partners;
• Women in common-law relationships are at a greater risk of family violence and murder
• Drugs and alcohol can escalate the violence;
• Homes with firearms can be deadly for women;
• Previous history of domestic violence, past criminal record and mental illness are all risk factors.