Hiatus Houses kicks off annual Shine the Light campaign with tree-lighting ceremony
The goal is to raise awareness about abuse against women
Hundreds of advocates, allies and survivors descended upon Windsor's Charles Clark Square on Monday evening to kick-off Hiatus House's eighth annual Shine the Light campaign.
Though this is the campaign's eighth year, Hiatus House executive director Thom Rolfe said this is the sixth year that the tree — lit in purple — has called Charles Clark Square home.
Novembers in Ontario mark Women Abuse Prevention Month, and Rolfe explained that the tree-lighting ceremony lets "everybody know that it's time again to wear purple."
He said the colour purple is meant to signal to those experiencing abuse that support is out there, and that "it's alright to have a conservation about it."
Anita Prskalo, a residential counselor at Hiatus House and survivor of abuse who delivered one of the ceremony's central speeches, said she was honoured to participate in the Shine the Light campaign.
‘Tonight, this woman’s issue is going to be everybody’s issue’ — speaker challenges the discomfort around talking about violence against women. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCWindsor?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCWindsor</a> <a href="https://t.co/MfM0TPNd7D">pic.twitter.com/MfM0TPNd7D</a>—@KatGeorgieva
"It's just a profound feeling, an honour to be able to represent such an incredible population of women that have persevered through so much," she said. "And me being part of that population makes me feel even proud of myself tonight."
Prskalo said events like Shine the Light are necessary "to really expose the truths behind gender-related violence and violence in the home and violence in relationships, and how this is affecting our youth and our community and our society."
According to Rolfe, approximately one in three women around the world will face some form of abuse.
With files from Katerina Georgieva