Regina's Hearts in the Park encourages people to talk about domestic violence
Saskatchewan has highest rate of domestic violence in Canada
For the second year in a row, giant red hearts have been strung in Victoria Park in an effort to raise awareness about domestic violence.
The Hearts in the Park initiative is led by The Circle Project Association — a Regina agency that provides family violence and alcohol and drug counseling — in collaboration with the Regina Police Service, the University of Saskatchewan's nursing college and SOFIA House, a shelter for women and children.
Circle Project executive director Ann Perry explained this year's theme is "it takes heart to talk about it."
"We picked that theme because we want to start the dialogue about the violence that's occurring in our community," she said.
"Violence impacts us all."
According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan had the highest family violence rate in the country in 2015 — double the national average.
On Wednesday, people were invited to the park to write down how they are related to violence, or how someone they know is.
"When other people can walk by and see daughter, sister, mother, brother, cousin, co-worker, best friend — it brings it to our hearts," explained Perry.
"It is not the social norm to be living in a violent situation. It never has been. That's why people are reluctant to talk about it."
During Wednesday's event, cards were passed out illustrating the cycle of violence.
Perry said soon, Circle Project will be launching a national campaign, asking men to stand up to domestic violence against women and children.