(Kamloops) The Kamloops Annual Shoe and Red Dress Memorial will not be holding an in-person event this year due to COVID 19 restrictions. It is also the organizers desire to help keep everyone safe.
Local Kamloops woman, Lynn Chassé and her family started the Annual Kamloops Shoe Memorial to coincide with the Day of Remembrance, in memory of their Mother, Dorothee McLaughlin, who was murdered by her boyfriend in May 13, 2000. The annual event is now being organized by the Kamloops and District Labour Council (KDLC). “It is important to make time and take part in the National Day of Remembrance and Action against Violence on December 6th” for many important reasons” says Lois Rugg, KDLC President.
The Canadian Labour Congress researchers says half of women in Canada will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. It can be physical or sexual abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, financial manipulation or control, spiritual abuse, criminal harassment or stalking. It can happen at work, at home, online or in the community.
About every six days in Canada, a woman is killed by her intimate partner. Each night, almost 4,000 women – many with children – turn to shelters because they aren’t safe at home. Research by Canada’s unions found that almost 40 percent of working women have experienced domestic violence. For most of those women, the impacts followed them to work, putting their jobs and their co-workers at risk. COVID-19 lockdowns exacerbated these realities for many workers. During stay-at-home orders, it becomes increasingly difficult for women to access services as they are trapped at home with their abuser.
The “Red Dress” Memorial was introduced to the Shoe Memorial event in 2019 and will continue to be a part of the memorial to honour and remember the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women across Canada. This memorial also reminds us that we need to continue to recognize that not all women experience harassment and violence in the same way. Young women, Indigenous women and women with disabilities experience higher rates of harassment and violence. For racialized and immigrant women, lesbian and bisexual women and trans and non-binary folk, sexual harassment and violence can be exacerbated by other forms of discrimination. They also face more barriers when it comes to finding services and support.
“The Shoe and Red Dress Memorial reminds us that we need to take action in our communities by supporting initiatives to end violence against women and girls and be active to make our workplaces, homes, and streets safe for everyone,” says Rugg. “We all have a role to play in making our communities safe for women, girls and non-binary gender identified persons”.
Women’s organizations are on the frontlines when it comes to sexual harassment and violence including the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre and the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter, providing support and services to survivors and advocating for changes to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. But while gender-based violence costs the Canadian economy $12 billion annually, these organizations have limited funding, relying on donations. Rugg says, “Financial donations is one way we can help these important services to continue their great work. Normally KDLC organizers would collect shoe donations for the Annual display, but this year in lieu of shoe donations the KDLC is making a financial donation to each organization and are asking others to do the same.
HOW CAN YOU DONATE? Go to the links below to support one or both of these important organizations.
Please donate to the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre
Or donate to the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter
https://www.kamloopsy.org/forms/donate.aspx (and direct your gift to the Shelter).