Pin-Up-Girl campaign aims to make more safe spaces for Halifax women
Wearing Pin-Up-Girl lapel pin allows women looking for help to find allies when they don't feel safe
A new campaign to help women assist each other on the street is coming to Halifax this summer.
It's called Pin-Up-Girl and it began in Alberta.
The campaign gives free lapel pins to women who promise to wear them to create a "safe space" for each other in public areas.
Jennifer Decoste, the Pin-Up-Girl promoter in Nova Scotia, said some examples of assistance women may be looking for are as simple as walking together at night, or sitting together on a bus.
"You can spot someone with a pin and know that that's a space that you can go to," she said.
"So for instance ... there have been nights where I've left a conference and needed to got get my car at Scotia Square and not necessarily felt safe walking there alone."
It was inspired by the Block Parent program, which began in the 1980s.
Stephanie Colangeli of Calgary started the campaign in March, 2017 after walking alone one night, feeling unsafe and wishing there was something like a Block Parent who could help.
"I kind of had this moment where I said to myself, 'Gosh whatever happened to those?'" she said.
"We really could use something like that for women nowadays where if you are out in the world and you felt unsafe you had some sort of indicator or sign of someone you could go to and get help if you needed it."
The movement has grown from there, with pin requests from all over the world — India, Dubai, France, Japan, Egypt, Brazil and the U.S. — to name a few.
Under the Block Parent program, a volunteer would agree to help a child or adult who needed protection from anything — from bullying to bad weather to sexual assault. A sign in the window showed which homes participated.
"You knew if you were a latchkey kid you could pop into that house if you needed a safe space," said Decoste.
The Block Parent program went into decline nearly 20 years ago in part because new regulations at the time required more rigorous police checks.
Decoste said she hopes women who see other women wearing the pin will know they can go to that person for support. She has several hundred pins to distribute.
With files from Shaina Luck