Irving Kurz, Domestic Violence Intervention and Response Team manager and collaborative co-ordinator, stands in front of the Women’s Outreach Centre in Red Deer Thursday afternoon. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Calling for action on violence against women in Red Deer

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on violence Against Women was Thursday

Many people across Canada, including those in Red Deer, are trying to stop violence against women.

Flags at all federal buildings were at half-mast and many people across the nation wore a white or purple ribbon Thursday to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The day was created in 1991 to remember the 14 women murdered and 10 injured at a mass shooting at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in 1989.

“It’s very important we remember those 14 women and the ones that survived,” said Irving Kurz, domestic violence intervention and response team manager and collaborative co-ordinator in Red Deer.

“Every year, there are more than 14 women killed from domestic homicides in Canada, so we remember them, as well as all the domestic violence victims … living in abusive relationships.”

Kurz said there are many supports and agencies for Central Alberta women in abusive relationships, such as the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Centre.

“It’s important for people who haven’t come forward to know that they aren’t alone and there’s help available,” he said.

Women in abusive relationships deal with more than just physical injuries, said Kurz.

“The broken bones (and) the wounds heal, but the emotional and psychological scarring that happens lasts much longer and is much harder to heal,” he said.

Children and unborn children can be affected by domestic violence.

“Even the kids who the parents think don’t know because they’re upstairs or in a different part of the house, they understand what’s going on,” he said.

Kurz said there are many reported domestic violence cases in Alberta, but he’s optimistic that could be a good sign.

“I like to think the reason why in Central Alberta, and Alberta, we have a higher number of reported domestic violence incidents is because perhaps we have a better environment for reporting it, and perhaps we have better services that encourage people to report it,” he said.

Danielle Larivee, Alberta’s minister for the status of women, held a candlelight vigil Thursday in Edmonton to honour the 14 women killed in 1989.

“Sadly, the hatred that fuelled that attack continues today. Violence against women and girls is still too common in Alberta, and in an age of social media, we don’t have to look far to find examples of gender-based hate levelled at people we know,” said Larivee.

Larivee said it’s up to everyone to stand up to hatred.

“We can do it by challenging demeaning comments, providing support for victims of abuse and doing what we can to shift our conversations toward respect, equality and consent. And we can do it by treating our friends, families, neighbours and strangers with the love and respect that they deserve,” she said.

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Alberta Minister of Status of Women Danielle Larivee held a vigil to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. (Contributed photo)

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